Alipay has announced partnerships with several payments companies, including JP Morgan Chase, as it looks to increase its exposure in the North American merchant and retailer market by allowing Chinese natives to pay with Alipay while they are traveling abroad, according to PYMNTS.com and other published reports.
Among the other partnerships, Alipay announced it is working with Poynt, a smart payment terminal company, to support QR Code-based payments, along with Mag Stripe, EMV, NFC and gift cards, at Poynt smart terminals, according to Finextra.
Alipay also partnered with 120,000 of North American Bancard's PayAnywhere merchants, allowing them to use a camera or barcode scanner to accept Alipay, both on the mobile app and through PayAnywhere Storefronts, according to Finextra's report. By the end of the year, Alipay will be accepted at all of NAB’s semi-integrated MICROS terminals, as well as their Ingenico terminal merchant base, per the report.
Alipay has been on a major expansion push in the last couple of years. The payment method is now accepted at more than 10 million brick-and-mortar merchants throughout China, covers more than 30 countries and supports 27 currencies.
Last week’s bundle of announcements was all about penetrating the North American, and more specifically U.S., marketplace. It's all about getting Alipay — along with Alibaba — greater exposure in this part of the world by riding on the backs of its native customers. These announcements follow Alipay’s first major breakthrough in the U.S. market — a May partnership with First Data.
In making these announcements, Alipay noted that the number of Chinese consumers visiting North America is predicted to grow to four million this year, making it a worthwhile investment for the company. The company also pointed to the growth of the Chinese middle class, which it says is the fastest-growing online consumer market in the world, slated to reach 600 million by 2020.
Being able to accept Alipay from Chinese travelers will help North American merchants forge relationships with those customers — and, theoretically, Alipay’s global user base of more than 520 million consumers — which could leave them well-positioned for cross-border e-commerce when those consumers head back online. As such, Alipay could offer North American merchants a high ceiling of potential transactions.
It could also help Alipay and Alibaba become more of a force among North American consumers as this group becomes used to seeing the Alipay logo displayed at their own local retailers. With Alipay's lofty goals — like growing its user base to over 2 billion within a decade — it makes sense to look outside of China for some portion of that growth.