Alipay’s international expansion gathers pace
to Alipay. For Chinese people, traffic fines, remote medical diagnosis, marriage pre-registration, income tax filings, doctor appointments and utility bill payments... now need no more than a tap or a code scan on Alipay.
Zhejiang, among the wealthiest provinces, is home to Alipay. It is keen to embrace digital channels so that citizens do not have to run an errand “for no more than once”, said Chen Guangsheng, the provincial government’s vice-secretary-general.
Citizens can access the platform via Alipay. Combining location-based services with the payment function, Alipay guides users through its “City Service” that aggregates civic affairs, and redirects them to respective online pages to fill out information and make e-payments.
Alipay is rapidly expanding overseas as a growing number of shopping-happy middle-class Chinese travel abroad to snap up products from luxury bags to high-end watches.
The payment tool is accepted at more than 120,000 merchants, including high-end shopping malls such as Harrods and Print- emps, both magnets for Chinese consumers.
To serve wealthier Chinese buyers, Alipay introduced its payment services at 10 major international airports in Germany, Japan and New Zealand. Departure tax refunds processed by Alipay were also made available in 23 countries.
Alipay also signed a deal this May with US payment processing firm First Data that will allow its service to be used at points-of-sale of more than 4 million retail partners in the country.
Also in May, Carnival Corp’s first and largest brand in China, the Costa Cruises, said it will give passengers the option to use their existing Alipay accounts as a payment method for cabin folios.
All onboard spending, including shopping, leisure activities, excursions, food and drinks, will be added to each guest’s cabin folio when the purchase is made, and then cleared on a nightly basis via their Alipay account.
The company has a vision to serve 2 billion global custom-
number of merchants that have accepted Alipay across the world
ers in the next decade, with more than 60 percent of users from outside the Chinese mainland, according to Douglas Feagin, senior vice-president of Ant Financial.
An international student from Romania uses Alipay app on his mobile phone at a store in Beijing.