Vodacom partners with Chinese payment solution, Alipay to launch a ‘super app’


Forget Google Pay or Apple Pay, Vodacom is convinced the South African consumer wants to use Alipay. You’ve probably never heard of it. 

Vodacom has partnered with China’s Alipay to produce something called a “super app” that will essentially allow users to make payments whether they have a bank account or not. All within this new payment app being developed by Vodacom. 

Okay, you won’t only be able to make payments, the app will also allow you to stream video and make travel arrangements? So, it’s like a butler/streaming platform/digital bank account. Right. “SA’s largest mobile operator is creating a platform that will aggregate different merchants and service providers so that users can do all their business online and “never have to leave the app”. The press release details even less of what the app actually does. On another note, we’re extremely keen to try out this super app, but also not leave it running on our phones. 

Not quite sure what this is? Neither are we. The example cited in the press release is China’s WeChat app that can be used to chat to friends, share links and even make online payments, hail rides and order food. Alipay is like Google or Apple Pay but it’s an affiliate of Chinese businessperson Jack Ma’s Alibaba, which apparently has more than 1.2-billion users around the world.

“Vodacom Financial Services will work closely with Alipay to leverage their global learnings and develop a super-app that will not only offer stellar digital customer experience, but bring to life a market place of goods and services tailored to the South African customer needs underpinned by a progressive digital payments ecosystem designed to serve both the banked and unbanked parts of the population,” the press release continues. 

The service will launch sometime this year, and we’ll let you know when Vodacom plans to roll it out. In the meantime, we’re here waiting for Google Pay to still make it to South Africa. 


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Digital Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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