Growing global ambitions and a saturating domestic marker has now led to yet another global foray by a Chinese tech major, in the form of Alipay.
Alipay, China’s largest digital payments processor — owned by Jack Ma’s Ant Financial — is gearing a US entry, as it has signed an exclusive deal with First Data Corporation. The news came in via a joint statement released by the two companies (via Bloomberg).
The deal closed between the two companies will provide consumers, an option to pay via Alipay at over 4 Million merchants using First Data’s payment services. The rollout will begin with businesses that use First Data’s Clover products.
Talking about how the company is looking for partners, rather than creating an entirely new ecosystem, Souheil Badran, president of Alipay North America, said,
This will open up Alipay to where it’s truly ubiquitous across the United States and hopefully more countries later. We decided rather than trying to do it on our own, this is an ecosystem that we’re looking for a partner that can provide scale.
The deal will put Alipay in direct competition with Apple Pay, since the latter is also available at close to 4.5 Million merchants across the US. Apart from Apple Pay, Android Pay will also serve as a major competitor for the Chinese goi in the US market.
Alipay’s US entry is just yet another global foray by China’s ambitious and wealthy payments companies, and more specifically, Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group. More recently, Ant Financial agreed for a $1.2Bn buyout of US-based money transfer service MoneyGram International Inc.
The company has already mastered mobile payments in its home turf with WeChat, which it runs in partnership with Tencent. WeChat has grown massively to a 700Mn userbase, commanding a humongous 90% market share in the digital payments domain.