Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been in the limelight recently after it filed for a US IPO that could potentially raise up to $20 billion. Taking its services overseas is a positive spin for its potential investors, and it seems like the company is pushing hard for its Alipay payments service to cross geographical boundaries first.
An Alibaba spokesperson revealed to TNW early this year, when it inked a few partnership deals for Alipay in Hong Kong and Taiwan, that it is seeking to make the payments service available in South Korea. Now the company has delivered, as online shopping mall Lotte.com has inked a deal with Alipay to introduce a new payment option for its Chinese users. The option has been there since late April but the partnership was only officially announced today.
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Lotte.com is managed by South Korean conglomerate Lotte, which manages an array of duty-free shops and department stores. Latest public figures peg Lotte.com’s users at 14.3 million members and nearly a million daily visitors, though it is likely that the figures are higher now. The press statement from Alipay pins Lotte.com’s users at 16 million.
According to the statement, China has the largest number of users among the 19 regions where there are Lotte.com members, and “the partnership this time is expected to encourage even more Chinese consumers to shop on Lotte.com by enabling them to pay for purchases with Alipay’s convenient cross-border payment solution.”
This comes after Japanese e-commerce juggernaut Rakuten also announced a partnership with Alipay last month, seeking to make it easier for shoppers in China to buy goods from its global site. Alibaba also revealed that popular British fashion e-commerce site ASOS has also added Alipay as a payments option, while Yahoo Japan will start accepting Alipay in June.
From this, it looks like Alibaba is keen to bring Chinese shoppers to various regions by making it easier for them to pay via a service they are already used to in China, instead of needing to adapt to overseas payment methods.
And this could be a key motivation for overseas companies keen to tap on Chinese consumers and their spending power to cozy up with Alibaba. As we said previously, instead of trying to export its online shops overseas, which would require translation work and a lot of localization, Alibaba is first intending to become the PayPal of the East with its Alipay payments service.
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