Chinese mobile payment platform Alipay enters the US market
The payment platform, which is an extension of Ant Financial and Jack Ma’s Alibaba ecommerce empire, will enter the U.S. market as part of an agreement with retail payment processor First Data. Alipay will soon be available at First Data’s four million domestic business clients, starting with the company’s Clover POS platforms.
The U.S. expansion follows Alipay’s growth into other international markets, as the platform hit Europe last year and acquired its way into Southeast Asia last month. The service boasts over 450 million users worldwide — but this is its first entry into North American markets.
While Alipay will be available at locations across the country as part of the deal, this isn’t an attempt to take over the U.S. mobile payment market — at least not yet. Instead, the expansion aims to provide service for its Chinese customers when they’re in the states.
“Our goal is to extend reliable payment services to the over four million Chinese consumers that visit North America every year,” said Alipay North America President Souheil Badran in a statement.
The two companies ran a pilot program using the Alipay platform in First Data retailers in California and New York last year.
Alipay is in a prime position to compete in the U.S. mobile payment market, however, if the company chooses to shift its strategy. Apple doesn’t reveal how many users it has on Apple Pay (of course) — but Tim Cook recently shared that the service is available at 4.5 million retailers across the country. Alipay enters the market just short of that number at four million, with plenty of room to grow.