Partnerships / Acquisitions

Ant Financial’s Alipay Customers Get Access To European Offline Merchants Thanks To New Deal

Ant Financial Services, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group, has reportedly inked a deal with Ingenico of France to push its mobile payment system throughout Europe.

According to a report, as part of the deal, Ingenico will let users of Ant Financial’s Alipay, China’s biggest online payment platform, access its network of offline merchants around Europe. In its latest earnings report, Ingenico disclosed it reached an agreement to take care of some of the cross-border online payments for Alipay.

The Wall Street Journal cited a person familiar with the situation as saying that there will be no investment as part of the deal, but Ingenico will get service charges from Alipay and is betting transaction volume will grow as a result of the partnership. Ingenico processed transactions in 170 countries as of last year, while Alipay is available in 70 countries around the globe.

This isn’t the first deal Ant Financial Services has struck in Europe, as the Alibaba affiliate looks to succeed in what many have called ambitious expansion plans. Earlier this summer, it plunked down money to acquire a 20 percent piece of Ascend Money, which is an online payment provider in Thailand. It also reached an agreement with taxi-hailing startup Uber in which Alipay users can pay for rides with the mobile payment method. The report noted Ant Financial has enough cash to expand, closing a round of funding in April after it raised $4.5 billion. That round of fundraising gave the company a $60 billion valuation.

As the largest provider of China’s leading internet payment solution, Alipay is actively used by 400 million users and owns more than 50 percent of the market share in online payments and 80 percent in mobile. Thanks to Alipay, Chinese users can make purchases on their mobile devices at authorized point-of-sale retailers in Europe via an integrated barcode payment functionality from Wirecard, without incurring currency exchange fees. Alipay will also be launching in Europe this summer, giving its Chinese consumers the chance to use the digital payments option while abroad in Europe, which would be the company’s largest market outside of Asia.

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