As a biggest push out of Asia, Alipay (a unit of Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial) is launching in Europe to allow Chinese tourists to pay for things abroad. The app will recognize where the Chinese Alipay user is in Europe and send notifications about where to eat, shopping offers and places to see. There are also user reviews on the app. When a user attempts to pay, a barcode will be shown on a person’s device which the merchant can scan.
Alipay has been expanding out of China in recent times. Alibaba and Ant Financial upped their stake in Indian payments firm Paytm last year as it looks to expand into India. Peng revealed to CNBC that the company is “actively looking” for more partners in Asia as it looks to go deeper into the region.
But the firm does not plan to invest heavily in payment firms in Europe just yet. Ant Financial is talking to a number of partners from financial institutions to restaurants and theatres across Europe to get them on board with Alipay. Merchants will be able to view the shopping habits on Chinese consumers spending in their stores through Alipay’s dashboard.
Last year, it struck a deal with Wirecard, a German payment processing company, which will let merchants using Wirecard’s point-of-sales terminals accept Chinese visitors’ purchases made with Alipay.
Partnerships will be key for the platform in order to get merchants sending through offers and deals. Alipay does not compete directly with the likes of Samsung Pay and Apple Pay as both services just allow people to purchase items with their phone. Instead, with the focus on allowing merchants to use Alipay to help market to customers and learn their behavior, Ant Financial sees it as a tool to drive revenues. Chinese consumers will be able to use Alipay in the U.K., Germany, France and Italy to begin with starting in the summer.