Every major retailer wants to break into China’s growing commerce market, and yesterday (May 13) Walmart took a big step toward helping the retailer secure more of the country’s mobile payments share.
Walmart announced that is has inked a deal with Alibaba to offer its customers the ability to use the Alipay mobile payment option across 25 of its southern China stores, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported, noting that Walmart stores in the metropolis region of Shenzhen can use the Alipay Wallet by scanning the barcodes available in the app to make a payment that is said to take just seconds.
While the initial plans include those few dozen stores, CNET reported that “a Walmart representative said the company expects to expand the service to more of its roughly 400 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the country.”
The race to win over China’s mobile payments audience has been a fierce one among retailers, in large part because of the fact that China has high smartphone penetration and a massive population who embraces mobile payments as their preferred payment method.
The announcement from Walmart came just a day after it was reported that Apple was allegedly in talks with Alibaba to bring Apple Pay to China. As Apple grows its market share in smartphone sales in the country, Apple has made it clear they want to have a bigger presence in the country.
“We very much want to get Apple Pay in China,” Cook said during his visit. “I’m very bullish on Apple Pay in China.”
Turns out Apple isn’t the only one eyeing more mobile transaction in China. Walmart wants a piece of the mobile payments pie, too. While Walmart currently has around 400 stores across China, it has plans to add more than 100 additional stores in the next two years.
"Alipay will help us serve our customers better by allowing mobile payment in seconds. Increasingly, our customers want convenience,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Marilee McInnis told Fortune in an email.