Alipay, China’s biggest online payments platform, is stepping up its global expansion with a major foray into North America, the home of PayPal and ApplePay. Hangzhou-based Alipay has partnered with US credit card processing service company First Data Corp to support mobile payments in four million merchants and retailers across the world’s largest consumer market, according to a joint announcement by the two companies early on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to extend reliable payment services to the over four million Chinese consumers that visit North America every year,” said Souheil Badran, the president, Alipay North America.

 The collaboration extends a relationship between Alipay and First Data that started last year, when the two companies successfully tested implementation of Alipay’s mobile payment service in select high-end and specialty retail locations in California and New York.  The rollout of Alipay, a unit of Ant Financial Services Group, in the US and Canada will initially cover First Data’s clients that use its Clover point-of-sale terminal for small- and medium-sized businesses.  “Through this agreement, we will be able to offer our unparalleled network of business clients a cutting-edge payment solution,” said Frank Bisignano, the chairman and chief executive at First Data.

Alipay has estimated that it has already more than 450 million global active users, which augurs well for the vast network of merchants in North America supported by First Data.

In addition to online payments and money transfers, Alipay users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets and make doctors’ appointments directly from within its mobile app.

Alipay has recently been expanding to in-store, offline payments at bricks-and-mortar retailers across the globe. It said the First Data relationship will provide more North American merchants and retailers the ability to accept payments from millions of overseas customers who already know and trust the platform.

As part of its agreement with First Data, Alipay transactions will be routed through Acculynk, a technology company that was recently bought by First Data. Acculynk will tokenise the Alipay QR code for settlement. “With the help of Acculynk’s gateway technology, First Data will be able to quickly implement Alipay for its large client base, so businesses can start accepting Alipay transactions in a seamless manner,” said Ashish Bahl, the founder and chief executive of Acculynk. “Through its role as the world’s largest merchant acquirer, First Data will be the first to offer Alipay at the point-of-sale in a scalable manner for North America businesses.”



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