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Alipay opens unmanned apparel shop in Hong Kong

Ant Financial looks to promote mobile payments in city

Alipay's clerkless store in Hong Kong accepts mobile payments through QR codes. (Photo by Takeshi Kihara)

HONG KONG -- Ant Financial Services has set up an unmanned clothing store in Hong Kong in a bid to promote cashless smartphone payments in the city.

Ant, the provider of China's popular smart payment platform Alipay, opened the limited-time pilot store inside the Olympian City shopping center. Customers pay by scanning QR codes on their phones. The location has a robot that serves coffee to visitors.

Entry into the store is a two-step process. First the customer smiles for a facial recognition system, generating a QR code on a screen outside the entrance, which the customer scans to open the doors.

Hong Kong lags behind mainland China when it comes to the prevalence of smartphone payments. But many commuters make use of the Octopus transit smart cart, which can also be used to settle payments using QR codes.

As the financial technology affiliate of Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding, Ant seeks to raise awareness of mobile payments through the unmanned store. The store is managed by Ant's Hong Kong unit AlipayHK, a joint venture with Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings.

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