Alipay forays into Europe
Alipay, an affiliate of Jack Ma's Alibaba portfolio, is making substantial progresses in its expansion in to European markets with the unveiling of its partnership with Ingenico Group SA. To begin with, the move promises to link hundreds of continental retailers with China's biggest mobile wallet in popular destinations.
The agreement “will facilitate alliances as well as provide a technical piece of the puzzle”, Douglas Feagin, who heads Alipay's international business, said in an interview, adding that “Alipay is seeking partners from duty-free shops to luxury and department stores”.
"It's a very large market for us given most travellers are Alipay customers already," Feagin said in Paris.
Alipay is targeting the 120 million Chinese people who traveled and spent $875 each on average during their trips last year.
Ingenico, whose payment terminals are in thousands of online and physical stores in 150 countries, also manages cross-border electronic transactions for Alipay and its parent company Alibaba.
Alipay also announced to start charging fees for transferring more than 20,000 yuan ($3,000) to bank accounts. Taking effect on Oct 12, the new policy requires Alipay users to pay a fee of 0.1 percent when transferring money from the app's built-in digital wallet to a bank account. The charge will be levied on withdrawals above the threshold, with the minimum fee for each transfer set at 0.1 yuan.
With more than 450 million active users, Alipay said the new policy aims to offset "rapidly increasing operating costs".
Money transfers between Alibaba's online investment fund Yu'E Bao and Alipay will remain free of charge, said the company.
Alipay is not the first e-wallet to charge fees. Earlier this year, China’s most popular mobile messaging software WeChat also announced a 0.1 percent fee for money transfers over 1,000 yuan. (Source: China Daily)