Alibaba launches Alipay ePass for Chinese consumers on US sites

Thursday, 16 October 2014
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba launched the Alipay ePass yesterday, a suite of products that will allow Chinese customers to purchase directly from US websites. For this reason, Alipay, the US' third largest third-party payment service provider, teamed up with San Francisco-based online payment start-up Stripe.

For Chinese consumers, that means ordering through the internet from sites in the US has just become a lot easier as those sites can now detect (via Stripe's payment software) if a customer is located in China. If yes, they can offer shoppers the option to pay via their Alipay account.

According to Li Jingming, head of Alipay US, there is a "huge demand" for high-quality western products and services in China. He has been busy meeting with top executives of retail companies such as Martha Stewart, Kate Spade, Tom Ford, Barnes and Noble, Li & Fung, the Movado Group, Birchbox and the National Retail Federation and confirmed agreements with Uber, AirBnB, Jingming, H&M and online luxury shopping marketplace Gilt Groupe.

According to Forbes, Alipay already has more than 800 million Chinese account holders and is the world's biggest mobile payment processor. Given a certain reluctance among Chinese users to use credit cards when making online payments, Alipay's ePass could take off in a big way, especially in view of the company's plans to focus on partnerships with payment providers in regions where credit cards are not widely used.

Though Stripe doesn't disclose how many of their customers are currently using Alipay, the payment provider does mention on its website that it is currently conducting transactions in 139 currencies. At the moment, Stripe's services are available in 14 countries in North America and Europe, namely the US and Canada, UK, Ireland, Finland, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Luxembourg as well as in Australia. The company is looking at adding transfers to more countries this year itself.

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