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Could China’s Alipay Pose Threat to PayPal?

China’s Alipay payment service has partnered with Ingenico Group as part of an initiative designed to bring Alipay to European retailers. The idea is for European retailers to be able to cater to Chinese tourists so they can conveniently pay via their Alipay App at any store that uses the Ingenico solution.

“With this partnership, Alipay will be imbedded into Ingenico’s in-store payment gateway, which will allow acquirers across Europe to easily integrate and offer Alipay acceptance to their merchants.”

In its announcement, Ingenico cited figures stating nearly 10 million Chinese arrivals were registered in Europe in 2014, representing a total purchasing power of US$21 billion – a number that is increasing.

“Furthermore, as part of the new, extended partnership, Ingenico ePayments, the online and mobile commerce division of Ingenico Group, will now also provide full-service payment processing for Chinese merchants. Leveraging its global footprint, acquiring connections and checkout expertise, Ingenico will help Alipay optimize the processing of payments. Consumers from all over the world can safely shop and pay online, with Ingenico processing their payments. Ingenico ePayments has a long-standing relationship with Alipay, and already processes online cross-border Alipay transactions for international businesses such as Air France – KLM and Etihad.”

The Telegraph newspaper quoted Alibaba’s Managing Director in the UK and Ireland explaining that the company planned to have Alipay accepted in major London stores and attractions by October, when thousands of Chinese tourists visit the capital during their mid-autumn festival holiday. “Figures out next week are expected to reveal a post-Brexit bounce in Chinese visitor numbers,” the newspaper said.

With Chinese tourists bringing Alipay payments to Europe, will it pave the way for Alipay to recruit European shoppers to its App? There’s lots of competition in the mobile app space, and it will be interesting to see how companies like PayPal and Apple Pay deal with competition from Alipay.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.