Alibaba continues to partner, invest and grow across the globe, building a greater international footprint to balance out losses from a slowing domestic market. For one, Alibaba is setting the stage to expand its hold on Southeast Asia. Last week, Alibaba and Southeast Asia acquisition Lazada, the leading eCommerce platform in Thailand, reportedly signed an agreement to provide eCommerce training to 30,000 Thai SMBs.
In Europe, Alibaba, through its online payments platform Alipay, has announced a series of partnerships with European financial institutions — including BNP Paribas, Barclays, UniCredit and SIX Payment Service, said the Paypers — to provide Alipay’s current 450 million active users with additional opportunities to use its services in Europe. These partnerships will enable an additional 930,000 merchants to join Alipay’s European network.
Beyond mainland China and excluding these new partnerships, Alipay has already accepted at least 80,000 merchants as of June 2016 (though the figure may be closer to 100,000 now) through more than 70 countries. Australia recently got AliPay as well via payments provider Quest Payment Systems.
But its moves haven’t all been international. Alibaba announced it teamed up with China’s largest phone carrier, China Mobile. The stated goal of the partnership is to develop and optimize users’ mobile internet access and mobile experiences.
Consumers in China are much more likely to use a smartphone to make a purchase compared to consumers in the U.S. and U.K. The latter likely have entrenched consumer behavior to thank for slower mobile growth, along with smaller-level transactions in the former boosting consumer confidence in mobile payments in Asia. But the partnership is not just about payments.
Though Alibaba and China Mobile are currently working on eCommerce and mobile payment technologies, they are also geared toward optimizing mobile access and online experience. As of now, China has at least 710 million internet users, and more than 90 percent of them use wireless devices to go online, according to government data.
Alibaba and China Mobile are also partnering to work on information infrastructure and cloud computing developments with Alibaba’s cloud computing arm, Alibaba Cloud, to bring the nation further into the smart device era. Potentially the partnerships are helping Alibaba to compete against Amazon and Microsoft on the cloud computing front.
This past summer, Alibaba announced it would be investing $1 billion in its cloud-computing business with the goal of launching an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, DT PAI. The AI platform is meant to enable developers and companies that use Alibaba’s eCommerce sites to access user behavior data and eCommerce industry trends.
Source : PYMNTS