Alipay Has Expanded to the U.S. Market
Alipay, China’s largest digital payment platform owned by ecommerce giant Alibaba, is now available in the U.S. The U.S. is a popular travel destination for the Chinese, and businesses are taking advantage of this opportunity. First trialled in California and New York, it is now connected with over 4 million businesses. Alipay customers can not only make online payments and money transfers, but they can also use the company’s app to pay for a taxi, book a hotel, buy tickets and book medical appointments.
The Chinese payment solutions giant has signed up with Atlanta-based credit card processing service First Data and POS supplier Verifone; they are now in direct competition with the likes of ApplePay, Android Pay and PayPal. This integration into the U.S. is targeted at Chinese tourists visiting North America, but any Alipay customer can take full advantage of the benefits.
What are the implications?
Alipay already boasts over 450 million active global users, and this scheme will only make them even more accessible and international. Paired with local rival WeChat, a unit of Tencent, the two make up 90% of the Chinese mobile payments market with a gross merchandise value at more than $1 trillion in 2015.
While this is impressive, Juniper Research predicts that while more than 150 million people in the U.S. will start making digital payments by the end of the year, Apple’s contactless payment offering is expected to be the most popular solution, followed by Samsung Pay and Google Pay. Still, if the rate of Chinese tourists to the U.S. continues to rise, we could see Alipay as one of the leading online payment methods.
Souheil Badran, president of Alipay North America said, “Our goal is to extend reliable payment services to the over four million Chinese consumers who visit North America every year. Extending our partnership with a premier partner like First Data provides the merchants with a seamless integration and access to consumers who want to continue paying with their lifestyle mobile app.”
Partnership with Han Feng
Alipay has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Han Feng Inc., a leading food supplier for Chinese restaurants and supermarkets in the U.S. This agreement will enable Han Feng’s merchant partners to accept payment through Alipay, which currently has over 520 million active users in China, empowering over 14,000 merchants to form better connections with Chinese consumers in the U.S.
Souheil Badran, president of Alipay North America said, “Chinese consumers leverage Alipay as a Lifestyle Enabler and our partnership with Han Feng provides an experience that combines discovery and payment. By pairing Han Feng’s extensive reach within the Chinese consumer market with the familiarity of the Alipay platform, both Chinese consumers and the merchants that provide them with services will benefit from this partnership.”
In a recent interview, president of Alipay International, Sabrina Peng said, ‘We are targeting 2 billion users in the next 10 years.’ With moxie, a plan and a massive audience, this global payment platform is sure to stick around.