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Alipay forms alliance with Japanese firm

2014-04-22 10:33 China Daily Web Editor: qindexing

Alipay, the electronic payment tool of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, aims to get more online shoppers to adopt its payment service by teaming up with Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc.

Rakuten Global Market, the vendor's international shopping service unit, recently started accepting Alipay as one of its payment options, allowing Chinese consumers to purchase goods in the cross-border marketplace and pay with Chinese currency.

The tie-up is Alipay's latest step as it moves beyond domestic shopping sites and handles transactions for international virtual vendors.

About 250 e-stores under Rakuten enabled Alipay-backed payment before the service was extended to its 10,000 stores that ship to Chinese customers on a regular basis, said an Alipay statement sent to China Daily.

Both Alibaba and Rakuten operate marketplaces where member merchants sell their products to consumers via the platform.

Alipay aims to target the growing cross-border e-commerce market as a weaker Japanese yen sparked a buying spree among price-savvy Chinese. It will launch similar offerings in Yahoo Japan Corp's sites in June.

Alipay can now be used for various transactions, from paying utility bills to picking up restaurant tabs and covering cab fare.

The Alipay tool had served over 1,000 international online sites by March, and it plans to penetrate more brick-and-mortar overseas shopping malls, said Jiang Keying, director of international business at Ali Small & Micro Financial Service.

China will overtake the United States to become the top online shopping nation in 2016, according to data provider eMarketer.

The popular trend of cross-border online shopping is being spearheaded by a number of "shopaholics" who understand how to buy things overseas, said Sun Mengzi, a researcher with Analysys International, an IT consultancy.

"They usually choose items with price differences or things that tend to be unobtainable in China. As a result, 'Cyber Monday' and 'Black Friday' are no longer unfamiliar terms to China's price-savvy middle class," Sun said.

Apart from Alipay, banks and credit-card issuers are flocking to join the fray. In March, international bank card company MasterCard Inc teamed up with State-owned China Construction Bank to launch a digital payment service in China, tapping hundreds of thousands of Chinese consumers.

The joint MasterPass-LongPass enables consumers to make online payments in a way so they can store their credit, debit and prepaid card information, Chang Qing, head of MasterCard China, told China Daily in an earlier interview.

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