Alibaba’s Alipay Will Launch European Expansion This Summer

By Staff Writer

Apr 08, 2016 07:00 AM EDT

Chinese online payment platform, Alipay, has expressed its aim to expand its services to Europe. The company, owned by the Alibaba Group, officially announced its biggest move outside Asia at the Money 2020 conference in Copenhagen. 

The company stated that the push into Europe will make it easier for Chinese tourists' interface and interaction with Western merchants when doing transaction overseas. The move is based on the statistics on Chinese tourists spending abroad.

According to Finextra, 177 million Chinese tourists spent $165 billion while travelling abroad in 2014. The spending amount had a 53 percent rise to $215 billion in 2015. The number of tourists is expected to grow to 234 million by 2020.

With the new extended service, Alipay users can continue to use the app abroad, specifically in Europe. President of Alipay International Sabrina Peng told CNBC about the company's perspective in the new service, "The vision is targeting two billion people within next five to ten years, not only in China but other countries too."

As part of the expansion to European markets, Alipay will launch a new feature within the app, called "Local Services Platform." The platform, which is due to be launched in May, will provide users with description and reviews of shops and restaurants around them using geolocation. It's also equipped with a bilingual interactive map to help users navigate.

In addition to the Local Services Platform, Alipay's European launch program will also include services that enable Chinese tourists to do purchase transaction through the app. The service will be in partnership with Europe's financial services company Wirecard, as reported by Business Insider. The company will launch a software for processing Alipay payments that can be integrated with Wirecard point-of-sale (POS) infrastructure in merchants.

The European expansion is one of Alipay's recent efforts to push outside its origin in China. The company is reportedly looking for more partners in Asia. The move to make partnerships in Europe is the company's first biggest push outside Asia.

As for now, Alipay has a total of 450 million active users, according to the company's report. The service was used by 120 million users abroad last year. Also, in terms of global use, Alipay processes about 170 million transactions per day.

Chinese tourists will soon be able to make transactions with Alipay with merchants in Europe. The company plans to launch a partnership with European processor, Wirecard, as well as a new feature to make it easier for Chinese tourists to explore and make transactions abroad. The service is expected to be ready this summer. 

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