Third-party online payment platform Alipay has announced plans to expand into the US market following a deal it signed with credit card processing service First Data that will allow users to use Alipay at some 4 million businesses.
Launched by Alibaba Group and its billionaire founder Jack Ma, Alipay dominates the Chinese mobile payments market together with its rival WeChat. The Hangzhou-based platform surpassed PayPal several years ago and is now the world’s largest mobile and online payments platform, boasting some 450 million customers.
The deal with First Data follows small trials in New York and California and will see Alipay compete directly with PayPal, ApplePay and Android Pay in the American market. While mostly aimed at Chinese tourists visiting the US, the deal is widely seen as part of a larger move on the part of Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay’s operator and Alibaba’s digital payments arm, to expand out of China. Earlier this year Ant Financial bought Texas-based money transfer company MoneyGram for $880 million.