News: Service expanded for Chinese tourists in Europe.
China’s biggest third-party payments platform Alipay, is planning to strike deals with brick and mortar retailers in Europe to expand its services for Chinese tourists and expats.
The affiliate of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group is planning to offer additional services for the Chinese Alibaba Group. However, the company is not looking to provide its services to European customers, Bloomberg reported.
Alipay Europe, Middle-East and Africa head Rita Liu was quoted by the publication as saying: “Europe is a popular destination for our Chinese customers, so it’s an important market for us.
“We’re actively looking for partners across Europe — merchants who want to cater to Chinese tourists or technical providers on the payments side. But we have no plans to target European customers.”
To offer the new services, Alipay has negotiated with many retailers in Paris, including Printemps.
Last week, it signed a deal with Axa to sell travel insurance to its Chinese customers. It is also in talks with Germany’s Wirecard to make its mobile wallet service available for customers in nearly 69 stores at Munich Airport.
Liu said that the company is holding talks with other technical, retail and payment partners in France, Germany, the U.K. and Italy, to strengthen services.
It has already implemented the cross-border strategy in the US by partnering with firms like Uber Technologies, Airbnb and Macy’s.
According to a data provided by the China Tourism Research Institute, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to other nations stood at nearly 120 million last year, with France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany being their most popular destinations outside Asia.
On an average, a Chinese tourist spent $875.
When compared to other nations, China is far ahead in competing to maintain a lead in the emerging digital payments space.
Chinese company Tencent Holdings has a user base of 700 million on its WeChat messaging platform, which offers financial services, including payments.
Tencent’s user base is huge compared to combined subscribers of mobile wallet provided by Apple, Google or Samsung.
Ingenico Group innovation head Michel Leger said: “The key battle for digital giants today is scale on the merchants side. That’s true for anyone from Alipay to Apple or Facebook.
“They each have a relationship with millions of consumers, but they need the other side of the equation — the address book of merchants.”
A major payments and financial services conference Money20/20 held in Copenhagen in April, Alipay revealed its official expansion into the European market.
Currently, Alipay has 450 million active users in China, with more than 200 financial partners. This equates to more than 50% of the market share in online payment and 80% in mobile.