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Cambodia taps Alipay to expand CBDC usage for tourists

Alipay will allow Bakong CBDC users to make transactions at Alipay's global merchant locations.

Cambodia taps Alipay to expand CBDC usage for tourists

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Cambodia is taking a significant step towards modernizing its tourism industry by collaborating through its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) infrastructure, seeking partnerships to expand tourist payment options. In collaboration with Alipay, a leading global digital payment platform, Cambodia will streamline tourist payments, making their experience more convenient. 

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) now allows tourists to make payments from their e-wallets linked to bank accounts denominated in the local Cambodian currency, Khmer Riel, using KHQR – a payment system accepted at merchants in several Asian countries.

“This partnership will offer added convenience to tourists, allowing them to use familiar payment methods. It will also enable easier shopping at local businesses, especially for micro-merchants,” said Douglas Feagin, Head of Alipay+.

KHQR, launched by NBC in 2022, uses a standard QR code that various mobile banking apps can scan. It is powered by Bakong, a blockchain-based platform that supports the use of both the Cambodian Riel and the US Dollar.

In the first nine months of 2023, international tourist arrivals in Cambodia increased nearly fourfold compared to the previous year, highlighting the need for better payment systems for local merchants.

Dr. Chea Serey, NBC’s Governor, commented on the initiative, stating:

“This simplicity of making payments provides merchants with a boost in revenue, helping to stimulate economic activity.”

Furthermore, Bakong CBDC users who meet the complete Know Your Customer (KYC) criteria and Khmer Riel bank account holders can now transact at Alipay+ global merchant locations using local wallets and apps that NBC supports.

Cambodia aims to capture additional tourist spending to fund growth by bridging CBDC, local fintech applications, and global payment apps on standard rails. 

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