Ali­pay’s US mar­ket pres­ence grows

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By MENG JING in Bei­jing mengjing@chi­

Ant Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Group, the op­er­a­tor of China’s most used mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice Ali­pay, will soon en­able its hun­dreds of mil­lions of Chi­nese users to en­joy data-driven in­store pay­ments in the United States — the lat­est ef­fort made by the dig­i­tal fi­nan­cial ser­vice gi­ant in its moves to go global.

Ant Fi­nan­cial, which is con­trolled by Chi­nese bil­lion­aire Jack Ma, an­nounced on Tues­day its part­ner­ships with US pay­ment tech­nol­ogy providers First Data Corp and Ver­i­fone, an ini­tia­tive that is ex­pected to help the Chi­nese com­pany rapidly ex­pand its pres­ence in the coun­try via the two part­ners’ strong mer­chant net­works.

Dou­glas Fea­gin, se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent of Ant Fi­nan­cial and head of Ali­pay In­ter­na­tional, said in a key­note speech at Money 2020 in Las Vegas that the US mar­ket was vi­tal for Ali­pay not only be­cause it is a popular des­ti­na­tion of Chi­nese vis­i­tors and tourists.

“We aim to have at least 1 mil­lion mer­chants out­side the Chi­nese main­land ac­cept­ing Ali­pay world­wide in three years. Work­ing with our net­work of global part­ners like First Data and Ver­i­fone will help us achieve the goal.”

Since late 2014, Ali­pay has worked closely with lo­cal re­tail­ers at popular des­ti­na­tions for main­land vis­i­tors and tourists, in­clud­ing South Korea and Hong Kong.

By hav­ing First Data and Ver­i­fone join Ant Fi­nan­cial’s net­work, com­bin­ing with many other part­ners world­wide, Chi­nese vis­i­tors and tourists will be able to pay and re­ceive in­ter­ac­tive in­for­ma­tion from global mer­chants from Europe to North Amer­ica, Ja­pan to South­east Asia.

The move in the US is part of Ant Fi­nan­cial’s broad global ex­pan­sion plan of serv­ing 2 bil­lion cus­tomers in the next 10 years, about 60 per­cent of them com­ing from out­side China.

Li Chao, an an­a­lyst with iRe­search Con­sult­ing Group, said that the ris­ing num­ber of Chi­nese out­bound trav­el­ers and their in­creas­ing spend­ing were part of the emerg­ing “go­ing global” trend fu­eled by China’s mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice providers.

“Fierce com­pe­ti­tion has dragged down the prof­its of dig­i­tal pay­ment ser­vices in China,” he said.

“Look­ing abroad is in line with their in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion strat­egy and the goal to be more prof­itable. And the best way to start is with Chi­nese out­bound trav­el­ers.”

Out­bound tourism has be­come in­creas­ingly popular among Chi­nese middle-class con­sumers in re­cent years. Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion, China has been the world’s big­gest out­bound tourism con­sumer since 2012, ac­count­ing for more than 13 per­cent of global tourism rev­enue.

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