Alibaba-related company Alipay expands payment processing service into Canada

Updated: Jan 3

Service allows Alipay customers to pay for items at Canadian businesses

CBC News · Posted: Sep 25, 2017 8:55 AM ET | Last Updated: September 25, 2017

Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999 and Alipay came a few years later in 2004. (Ruben Sprich/Reuters)

Alipay, the mobile payment processing service that emerged from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is expanding its Canadian presence.

The company is partnering with mobile payment app SnapPay in a move that will allow Alipay's 520 million global users to use their Alipay mobile wallets to pay for products and services at participating Canadian merchants that accept SnapPay both in-store and online.

"By partnering with SnapPay, we are connecting sought-after Canadian retailers and brands with Chinese consumers who want to be able to pay with a familiar payment method," Alipay North America president Souheil Badran said. "We are thrilled to expand our reach in Canada with SnapPay."

Alipay launched in Canada last year, but Monday's announcement will see the service expand significantly. Monday's pact will make it easy for Chinese shoppers to use their Alipay mobile wallets to purchase items from Canada and elsewhere online, and then ask them if they want to pay in either U.S. dollars or Chinese yuan.

Canadian businesses exported more than $19 billion worth of goods to China last year, the largest amount to any single nation aside from the United States. 

In addition to making it easier for merchants who accept Alipay to sell goods to the Chinese market, the service may also boost in-person business, as Canada is becoming a major tourism destination for Chinese travellers.

"We want to continue offering Chinese consumers visiting Canada the ability to pay as they would in China," Alipay North American President Souheil Badran said. "But we also want to offer Canadian merchants the opportunity to access the Chinese market."

Alibaba founder Jack Ma was on hand at the event, urging Canadian small businesses to think big. "If you are not globalized, you will never be able to survive," he said. "Think globally."

Alibaba was launched in 1999 and Alipay came a few years later in 2004. Within a decade, the service had grown enough to eclipse PayPal as the world's largest online payment platform.

Currently, the service has more than 520 million active users.

More than 700 Canadian merchants, including Arcteryx, Canada Goose, Lululemon, Viva Naturals, Aldo and SunRype, already accept Alipay, but Monday's announcement should expand that presence.

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