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PayPal to launch local wallet in China focused on cross-border payments

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The PayPal application on an Apple iPhone.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BOAO, China — PayPal plans to set up a local wallet in China focused on cross-border payments.

In January, the U.S. fintech company became the first foreign firm with 100% ownership of a payments platform in China. But until now, PayPal’s been quiet on its plans.

Hannah Qiu, the China CEO for PayPal, told CNBC that the company is looking to launch a domestic wallet. But instead of it competing with the dominant players Alipay and WeChat Pay for domestic payments, PayPal will focus on cross-border payments.

In a panel session hosted by CNBC at the Boao Forum for Asia in the province of Hainan in China, Qiu elaborated on the plans.

“Our future business is mainly on cross-border transaction. Our value is more from overseas. In our overseas market, there are over 377 million individual users and over 20 million corporate users,” Qiu said in Mandarin remarks translated by CNBC.

We don’t have direct competition with local payment companies. Instead, we have a lot of cooperation with them.

Hannah Qiu

China CEO for PayPal

“We have a large network of such users. Thus, what we need to do is to build a bridge, bringing good Chinese products overseas and taking good overseas products back to China.”

With over a billion users between them, Tencent‘s WeChat and Alipay — which is owned by Alibaba affiliate, Ant Group — dominate China’s domestic mobile payments market. These apps allow users to pay online or in stores. At physical stores, users show a barcode that the merchant scans to take a payment.

Qiu said PayPal will not compete with these two services.

“We don’t have direct competition with local payment companies. Instead, we have a lot of cooperation with them. I’m not listing the companies’ names, but we have very deep cooperation with some local companies,” Qiu said.

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