Alipay launches European merchant support

Alipay has announced a new target to support 10 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe over the next five years, through technology that will empower these merchants to better serve and sell to over two billion potential consumers travelling to the region from around the world.

Unveiled during the Alipay Partners Global Summit in London, the plans include an expanded collaboration with European acquirer Worldline, as well as a new initiative to serve airport shops around the world through in-app mini programs.

“Our aim is to improve the way in which individuals and businesses buy, sell and receive payments, and to do this, we need to draw upon the strength of our partnerships,” said Eric Jing, chairman and chief executive of Ant Financial, the operator of Alipay.

“Our innovative solutions will continue to help merchants in Europe better serve the growing numbers of tourists as well as e-commerce shoppers coming to the region from all over the world,” he added.

Alipay currently serves over 1.2 billion users together with local e-wallet partners in the South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

In a report published this year, Nielsen found that over 93 per cent of Chinese tourists would be more willing to make purchases with their mobile phones and would even increase their spending if the option were available, while 60 per cent of merchants surveyed that adopted Alipay reporting growth in foot traffic and revenue.

Currently, Alipay collaborates with more than 120 financial institutions in Europe and is looking for new partnerships, according to a statement.

The first expanded partnership is with Worldline, an existing acquirer for Alipay that will work with Alipay’s e-wallet partners from Asia for the first time, allowing European merchants to accept payments from them through their Alipay-enabled points of sale.

Additionally, Alipay has developed mini programs to enhance tourists’ experience at airports around the world, offering services such as convenient payments and personalised recommendations. Alipay Mini Programs officially launched in July 2018, opening up the service to independent programmers and enterprises to create what it called ‘lite apps’.

The first airport mini program was launched by Hong Kong International Airport, allowing orders to be fulfilled as quickly as 90 minutes from ordering, so travellers can shop online before they reach the airport, and pick up their duty-free purchases as soon as they arrive.

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