Online and mobile payment giant Alipay’s footprint is about to get even bigger. As you know, in China you can use Alipay for just about anything, but now your options may have increased while shopping abroad (for Chinese nationals, anyways). The company recently announced its expansion in Europe, tripling its merchants as Chinese tourism numbers continue to surge.
In a CNBC interview with Roland Palmer, head of the European division of Alipay, said that in the past year “tens of thousands of merchants” came onboard with the payment provider. Palmer continued, it provides access to “wealthy and middle class consumers who are traveling to see the world and want to buy great brands from Europe.” Palmer also added that the platform has “around one billion” active users - making it currently the largest online payment platform in the world.
Homegrown in Hangzhou, the company was established by Alibaba in 2004 and now is owned by Ant Financial.
Image via Sina Tech
Last year’s 2018 EU-China Tourism Year initiative has propelled China to the third largest source of international visitors in Europe. In 2017, Eurostat reported that Chinese travellers spent 10 billion euros on travel services in the EU.
However for expats living in China, from our experiences trying to use Chinese e-payment methods abroad, Alipay and WeChat Pay can unfortunately only be used by those who have a Chinese ID card linked to their account. As for foreigners, credit cards are still a thing, right?
[Cover image via @支付宝/Weibo]