China-Based Alipay Enters into Deal with First Data

Mobile-payments giant Alipay, the king for payments processing in China now wants part of the largest consumer market in the world.

Alipay, owned by Ant Financial, entered into a new deal that will allow its users to shop at over 4 million merchants in the U.S. served by First Data Corp the payments processor, said the two companies on Monday.
The rollout starts with businesses that use the Clover products of First Data.

This opens up Alipay across the U.S. and hopefully into more countries at a later date, said Alipay North America President Souheil Badran.

In the United States, Badran said the company decided that instead of trying to go alone, the market is a great place to look for a partner that can give scale.

Alipay along with Tencent Holdings WeChat Pay are the dominant players in the mobile-payments market across China with a 90% combined share.

Alipay wants to now leverage the millions of customers in China who travel outside the country by offering them services regardless of where they travel.

The mobile wallet of the firm, which can hold cards that include Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and American Express, is accepted currently at over 100,000 retailers across 70 international markets, said company officials.
The deal with First Data will put the China-based Alipay into the same league as far as acceptance as Apple Pay.
Apple Inc.’s service of mobile payments is accepted at over 4.5 million locations within the U.S., said CEO Tim Cook during Apple’s earning’s call last week.

Alipay, which began in 2004 as a payments processor online for Alibaba Group’s e-commerce sites, enters into a market that is far less reliant on transactions via mobile devices than in China.

China’s transactions for mobile payments exceeded 38 trillion yuan equal to $5.5 trillion during 2016 triple that of 2015, according to an online research firm. That is in comparison to the U.S. $112 billion in mobile payment transactions.

Alipay is the most recent payments processor from China looking to move deeper into international waters. Ant Financial agreed to pay over $1.2 billion for MoneyGram the money transfer company based in the U.S. and China UnionPay Co has an agreement with payment networks in the U.S. to develop standards for international mobile payments.

First Data, which became public in 2015, operates a network for debit cards, processes card transactions and gives merchants data analytics and fraud detection services.

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