The Stripe-Alipay partnership that was announced last year is finally ready for the public to tap into.
Stripe officially announced that it has taken the integration of Alipay out of beta testing and said it is now available for Checkout support for everyone. What that means for Western companies is a better ability to secure a footprint in the fast-growing Chinese shopping market. The deal enables any business that runs Stripe to accept Alipay payments — both via the Web and mobile apps.
“Checkout now supports Alipay, China’s No. 1 payment method. Alipay gives you instant access to a vast market. Once you enable Alipay, Checkout will automatically detect Chinese buyers and enable them to pay on Web and mobile using instant SMS authentication,” Stripe highlighted on its Checkout homepage.
As explained when the deal was originally secured, this move will potentially open up U.S. eCommerce for millions of Chinese consumers who are currently without a convenient payment method when shopping on sites based outside of China.
“This is part of our larger plan to build a universal platform for payments online. We want to help businesses accept any currency or payment instrument their customers want to pay with,” said Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of Stripe, in a written statement to PYMNTS in June 2014 when the deal was announced. “The addition of Alipay to Stripe is an important step in our mission to bring more commerce online as well. We’re thrilled to be able to make selling to China easier for our users.”
According to Stripe, most of the cards supported by the platform are not in heavy use in China, whereas Alipay has grown into a dominant payment method among Chinese consumers, handling about half of all online transactions in China. While it was not impossible to pay with Alipay on a U.S. site before, it was also not a seamless experience.
“With Stripe, Alipay users will simply enter their email address and a six-digit SMS code in Checkout. It works great on desktop and mobile,” said Stripe in-house physicist Christian Anderson at the time of the initial deal.
Stripe, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2010, has raised roughly $200 million in funding to date, and a recent report (citing anonymous sources) suggested that Stripe may soon be raising $500 million.
The financing could top $500 million, an unnamed source allegedly told TechCrunch, though a spokesperson refused to comment on the rumors.
Stripe has been successful garnering large amounts of cash in past years, with big investors including Elon Musk, Sequoia Capital and Peter Thiel. Any new funds would likely go toward growth and geographic expansion beyond its current 20-country roster, as Stripe just unveiled a beta program in Japan.