Alipay has added an additional 930,000 merchants to its European Network following a series of partnerships made with some of Europe’s biggest financial institutions.
The world’s largest online and mobile payment platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, has signed deals with BNP Paribas, Barclays, UniCredit, and SIX Payment Services.
While BNP Paribas will facilitate payments in France, Barclays will provide provide Alipay customers with digital ways to pay in the U.K. A later phase of the partnership would see Alipay customers being able to pay using Barclaycard’s point-of-sale (POS) solution.
The pan-European payments provider, SIX Payment Services, will integrate Alipay services into SIX’s payment application, facilitating POS and e-commerce payments for users throughout the SIX network. UniCredit, meanwhile, will launch Alipay in Italy next year.
“We are excited to be partnering with leading European financial institutions to enable our users to pay with Alipay in even more locations and scenarios across Europe,” said Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Ant Financial and President of Alipay International.
“Our users’ lifestyles are increasingly global, so it’s vital we are able to work with the leading payment providers across the world to bring our trusted and convenient services to Alipay users wherever and whenever they need them.”
As of the end of the third quarter of 2016, excluding mainland China, Alipay had a network of close to 100,000 retailers in 70 countries and regions. The platform, which serves its customers in a variety of online and in-store payment scenarios, first entered Europe in October 2015 when it partnered with retailer Tripidi in Frankfurt Airport, Germany, and has since branched out with a range of partnerships.
The European expansion is designed to broaden the institutions’ access to Chinese tourists, who spent US$215 billion abroad in 2015, an increase of 53% from 2014, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.