With a new commerce deal for the soccer world, Ant Financial’s Alipay has partnered with Europe’s UEFA to bring its platform to events sanctioned by the organization’s men’s national team. Terms of the arrangement, which is said to have a duration of eight years, were not made public, CNBC reported.
“I think the future of football as future in principle is in digitalization, and we are in Europe quite far behind concerning that, so we got a proper partner for that, and I think we will do great things together,” said Aleksander Ceferin, the president of the UEFA. Those comments were echoed by Ant Financial Chief Executive Eric Jing, who said the UEFA is “looking at how they can use Alipay’s digital technology to increase engagement between football and their fans.”
As it stands, only holders of bank accounts from China can use the service. That means the deal would reach tourists from China who travel to see soccer tournaments from the UEFA. But in the future, partner wallets to Alibaba could potentially be brought into the fold. Ant Financial, for instance, has made investments in India’s Paytm and South Korea’s Kakao Pay.
For now, Ant Financial didn’t say which products the deal would encompass, but it did note that the goal behind the tie-up was to bring “digital innovation to football fans, enhance their onsite experience and provide seamless payment and other services to fans in Europe and across the world.”
Alipay has also teamed up with GUESS?, Inc. to attract Chinese travelers visiting the U.S. With the tie-up, the retailer noted it would bring the payment option into select brick-and-mortar stores across its brands. In a July announcement, Alipay Americas President Souheil Badran said that “by enabling these travelers to pay using the Alipay app, we are ensuring that they will have the best shopping experience, unimpeded by any language or payment barriers.”
CEO Jing noted that Alipay has more than 700 million active users, it was reported in September, previously noted as an increase of more than 200 million year on year.