Ant Financial's Alipay Rapidly Forays Into Europe

Photo: Alipay Global / Facebook

Being the largest mobile wallet in China, Alipay dominates the local market but now it’s going to expand its services to Europe as well. As it has been revealed, quite soon it will become widely accessible in the United Kingdom.

Alipay in the UK

According to the information provided, Ant Financial that is an affiliate of the Alibaba e-commerce conglomerate and an operator of Alipay has entered in a partnership with Barclaycard, the largest card transaction platform in the UK which processes nearly 50% of debit and credit card transactions in Britain.

In the framework of this agreement, UK merchants will get a possibility to accept Alipay smartphone transactions without a necessity to install new payment equipment. It is expected that such a move will promote the app’s acceptance in Great Britain.

Thanks to this initiative, potentially more than 100 000 British retailers will be able to benefit from the increasing volume and buying power of Chinese visitors. And it is quite an important bonus as today tourists from China comprise a significant part of the entire customer base of UK merchants.

According to the data shared by UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, it is expected that over 480 000 people from China will visit the UK in 2019 which is 43% up in comparison with 2017. The estimated sum that they could spend this year is more than $1billion. There are also around 500 000 Chinese residents and students in Britain.

It means that joining to Alipay system, stores will get a new promotional tool as they will be added to the app that the more than 600 million Chinese Alipay customers use to search for different shops and special offerings.

Rob Cameron, chief executive officer and global head of payment acceptance at Barclaycard, explained the mutual benefits, that UK stores and Alipay users will have, the following way:

“Our new agreement with Alipay gives retailers a vital tool to help them seize the revenue opportunity posed by the growth of Chinese visitors to the UK. At the same time, Alipay users will benefit from a more convenient and familiar in-store payments process-enhancing their overall shopping experience.”

A survey conducted by Nielsen last year has shown that 93% of Chinese tourists would be ready to spend more in a store where it is possible to use a mobile app to pay.

“Mobile payment is on the rise globally, and will continue to support greater connectivity and efficiency across the commercial ecosystem,” noted Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen China.

Alipay’s Expansion

It is known that Alipay has already established collaboration with 250 financial institutions all over the world. Since 2015 it has managed to enter in 9 strategic partnerships with local companies outside the Chinese mainland.

For example, in 2017 after the trials in New York and California, Ant Financial expanded its mobile payments platform into the United States market.

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