From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Native name
IndustryFinancial services
Payment processor
FoundedFebruary 2004; 18 years ago (2004-02) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
FounderJack Ma
HeadquartersPudong, ,
Area served
Key people
Jack Ma
ProductsElectronic payment processing
Mobile payment
ParentAnt Financial
Traditional Chinese支付寶
Simplified Chinese支付宝

Alipay (simplified Chinese: 支付宝; traditional Chinese: 支付寶; pinyin: zhīfùbǎo) is a third-party mobile and online payment platform, established in Hangzhou, China in February 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder Jack Ma. In 2015, Alipay moved its headquarters to Pudong, Shanghai, although its parent company Ant Financial remains Hangzhou-based.[1]

Alipay overtook PayPal as the world's largest mobile (digital) payment platform in 2013.[2] As of June 2020, Alipay serves over 1.3 billion users and 80 million merchants.[3] According to the statistics of the fourth quarter of 2018, Alipay has a 55.32% share of the third-party payment market in mainland China, and it continues to grow.[4][5][6]


The service was first launched in 2003, by Taobao.[7][8][9] The People's Bank of China, China's central bank, issued licensing regulations in June 2010 for third-party payment providers. It also issued separate guidelines for foreign-funded payment institutions.[citation needed] Because of this, Alipay, which accounted for half of China's non-bank online payment market[citation needed], was restructured as a domestic company controlled by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma in order to facilitate the regulatory approval for the license.[10] The 2010 transfer of Alipay's ownership was controversial, with media reports in 2011 that Yahoo! and Softbank (Alibaba Group's controlling shareholders) were not informed of the sale for nominal value. Chinese business publications Century Weekly criticised Ma, who stated that Alibaba Group's board of directors was aware of the transaction.[11] The incident was criticised in foreign and Chinese media as harming foreign trust in making Chinese investments.[12] The ownership dispute was resolved by Alibaba Group, Yahoo!, and Softbank in July 2011.[13]

In 2013 Alipay launched a financial product platform called Yu'ebao (余额宝).[14] Alibaba (the parent company of Alipay) reported having 152 million Yu'e bao users in mid-2016, with 810 billion RMB (US$117 billion) in funds under management.[15] As of June 2013 the company still had what it called "a minor paperwork problem" with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, but the company said that they planned to expand the product while these are sorted out.[16]

In 2015, Alipay's parent company was re-branded as Ant Financial Services Group.[17]

In 2017, Alipay unveiled their facial recognition payment service.[18]

In 2020, Alipay upgraded from a payment financial instrument to an open platform for digital life.[19]

In 2021, the mandate by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) to open up the "walled garden" ecosystems of the major tech companies has led to the introduction of interoperability of payment QR codes of Alipay and competing WeChat Pay and UnionPay's Cloud QuickPass platforms.[20]


Food ordering with Alipay in Mainland China

Alipay claims it operates with more than 65 financial institutions including Visa and MasterCard[21] to provide payment services for Taobao and Tmall as well as more than 460,000 online and local Chinese businesses.

Alipay is used in smartphones with their Alipay Wallet app. QR code payment codes are used for local in-store payments.[22] The Alipay app also provides features such as credit card bill payments, bank account managements, P2P transfer, prepay mobile phone top-up, bus and train ticket purchases, food orders, vehicles for hire, insurance selections and a digital identification document storage.[23] Alipay also allows online check-out on most Chinese-based websites such as Taobao and Tmall.[24]

The Alipay app allows users to add their own services provided from different companies to create a more personalised experience.

Since late-2008, Alipay has promoted public service payment services and has covered more than 300 cities nationwide, supporting more than 1,200 partner organizations.[25] In addition to utility bills such as water and electricity, Alipay also extends their services to areas such as paying transportation fines, property fees, and cable television fees.[26] Common online payment services also include hydropower coal payment, tuition payment and traffic fine.

On 15 January 2009, Alipay launched a credit card repayment service, supporting 39 domestic bank-issued credit cards.[27] It is currently the most popular third-party repayment platform. The main advantages are free credit card bills checking, repayments with no administrative fee, as well as automatic repayment, repayment reminders and other value-added services.[28] In the first quarter of 2014, 76% of credit cards were also paid by Alipay Wallet.

From December 2013, several chain convenience store companies, including Meiyijia, Hongqi Chain, and Qishiduo C-STORE and 7-Eleven, have successively supported Alipay payment; in December, Beijing taxi drivers began to accept Alipay to pay the fare. Subsequently, Wanda Cinema, Joy City, Wangfujing and other large-scale retail companies as well as movie theaters, KTV, and catering companies have access to Alipay.

From March 26, 2019, the service fee will be charged for the payment of credit card through Alipay. Customers only pay the portion of the payment that exceeds 2,000 yuan at 0.1%.[29]

In November 2019, Alipay introduced Tourpass, a service component that allows non-Chinese users to use its mobile payment feature by pre-loading Chinese Yuan equivalent foreign currency into the app.[30]

In 2020, Alipay used a QR code system to help in containing the COVID-19 outbreak. The health code system tags users one of three colors according to their location, basic health information and travel history.[31]

International expansion[edit]

Internationally, more than 300 worldwide merchants use Alipay to sell directly to consumers in China.[citation needed] It currently supports transactions in 18 major foreign currencies.

Since the launch of Alipay in the Mainland China, Ant Financial introduced a series of expansion of the services to other countries.[32][33][34][35]



In 2018, Alipay bought 20% shares in Bangladeshi mobile financial service provider bKash Limited.[36]

Hong Kong[edit]

In 2017, Ant Financial expanded to Hong Kong. In a joint venture with CK Hutchison, as Alipay Payment Services (HK), it launched the "AlipayHK" brand.[37] A standalone app provides features such as mobile payments and P2P transfers. All transactions are made and settled in local Hong Kong dollars.[38] The service then became available in major chain stores including McDonald's, 7-Eleven and Circle K.[39] Wet markets and other merchants were also supported.[40] From 2020 and 2021, with AlipayHK passing two million users, the service became accepted on MTR, buses and ferries.[41]


Alipay entered Japan in 2015, with network up to 38,000. Ant Financial hopes that their network in Japan could help Chinese tourists that are heading to Japan.[42]


Alipay was introduced to the Philippines in 2018 by Asia United Bank (AUB).[43] AUB also introduced WeChat Pay, and intends to use both payment systems to cater to Chinese tourists visiting the country.[44]

Ant Financial also has invested on Mynt, the operator of the mobile service GCash which caters to the Philippine market. It helped convert GCash into a cashless mobile payment service similar to Alipay.[45] It is also working on rebranding the mobile wallet into GCash by Alipay by the second half of 2021.


In 2017, Ant Financial partnered with CC Financial, a start-up company in Singapore. Alipay plans to expand its 20,000 acceptance points in Singapore, and open up their platform to Singapore banking users.[46][47]

South Korea[edit]

Alipay was introduced in South Korea in 2015, and is now available at various merchants around the country. Users can even receive an instant tax refund at four major airports in the country. In 2019, taxis in Seoul and Starbucks will accept Alipay via Kakaopay.[48][49][50]


Alipay entered Vietnam in 2010, with its network up to 21,000.[citation needed][clarification needed] Ant Financial hopes that their network in Vietnam could assist Chinese tourists visiting the country. Currently in Vietnam, Davitrans, a proxy shipping service, is the only website in the country that accepts Alipay as one of its payment methods.



In February 2019, Alipay and Tourism Australia announced a service to promote Australian destinations to Chinese tourists using the city of Sydney as a 12-month pilot project. The new Sydney City Card will introduce an interactive city map in the Alipay app to alert tourists to participating locations and retailers where Alipay payments are welcomed. A similar initiative will be trialed concurrently in Queenstown, New Zealand.[51]

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

Ant Financial has partnered with First Data in 2017.[52] It allows Alipay service to be used at point-of-sale with more than four million retail partners in United States.[53]


In 2017, Alipay partnered with SnapPay to allow Canadian retailers to accept Chinese currency from Chinese shoppers. There are currently 800 merchants in Canada that supports Alipay, including most Cadillac Fairview mall locations in partnership with OTT Pay,[54] such as the flagship Eaton Center of Toronto and CF Chinook Centre in Calgary.[55][56] Air Canada began allowing transactions in Alipay to book flights from Canada and the United States beginning in August 2018, after initially rolling out the feature for booking of flights originating from China.[57]



Alipay partners with Silkpay to enable merchants in France and other European countries to accept Alipay payments online and in-store.[58]


Alipay has partnered with Splitti and ePassi in Iceland.[59][60]


Alipay partnered with UniCredit, SIA and Banca Sella Group to enable app payments in physical and online stores in Italy.[61][62]


Alipay has started cooperating with Vipps in Norway. 30 shops in Bergen are ready to receive Alipay-customers, and in January 2019 some shops in Oslo will be ready.[63]


Alipay in 2022 with Sberbank will provide immediate money transfers by cellphone number from Russia to China.[64]

United Kingdom[edit]

Alipay partnered with Barclaycard in United Kingdom, bringing Alipay to UK retailers.[65]

Comparison with other payment systems[edit]

Alipay is conceptually similar to Apple Pay, WeChat Pay and PayPal because it overlays traditional card payment methods. Although users receive immediate notification of the transaction, the main difference among Alipay and an instant payment system, like Venmo or Zelle is that the funds transfer between counterparties is not immediate.[66] The settlement time depends on the payment method chosen by the customer, while for instant payment systems, the funds are transferred within seconds or minutes.

Regulatory concerns[edit]

In September 2021, the Chinese government stated its intent to dismantle the Alipay super app into separate businesses due to concerns over "systemic financial risks" as Chinese e-commerce and fintech firms had begun to amass huge troves of user data for their operations. The move essentially split Ant Group's consumer lending businesses, credit card-like Huabei and micro-loan provider Jiebei, from Alipay’s financial offerings.[67][68][69]

In November 2021, Alipay introduced a new privacy protection feature amid growing concerns over data privacy and after China's Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) came into effect on 1 November 2021. The PIPL prohibits the unnecessary collection of personal information, abuse of personal privacy, and data exchanges with overseas entities. Alipay's new feature allows users to track how the app collects data about them and is an interactive equivalent to a privacy policy, which explains how an app collects, stores, and shares user data.[70]

Alipay was banned in India (along with other Chinese apps) on 2 September 2020 by the government amid the 2020 China-India skirmish.[71][72]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "支付宝总部迁址上海陆家嘴". Netease. 23 April 2015. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  2. ^ John Heggestuen (11 February 2014). "Alipay Overtakes PayPal As The Largest Mobile Payments Platform In The World". Business Insider.
  3. ^ "Ant Group" (PDF). Hong Kong Exchange News. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  4. ^ "8.7亿!支付宝首次公布用户量:全球第一". 快科技 (in Chinese (China)). 4 May 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  5. ^ "8.7亿!支付宝首次公布全球活跃用户数量". 新浪财经. 4 May 2018. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Alipay is world's second largest mobile wallet". Computer World HK. 9 April 2018. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  7. ^ O'Connell, Brian. "History of Alibaba: Timeline and Facts". TheStreet. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  8. ^ "How Taobao bested Ebay in China". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  9. ^ King, Brett. "Banks Aren't Innovative in 2020". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  10. ^ Wang, Shanshan (27 May 2011). "Alipay Awarded Third-Party Payment License". Caixin Online.
  11. ^ "How Jack Ma's Mistake Damaged China's Market". Caixin Online. 14 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Jack Ma Talks To China Entrepreneur Magazine About The Alipay Case (UPDATED)". DigiCha. 6 July 2011. Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  13. ^ Rusli, Evelyn M. (29 July 2011). "Yahoo and Alibaba Resolve Dispute Over Alipay". DealBook.
  14. ^ Chohan, Usman W. "Financial Innovation in China: Alibaba's Leftover Treasure - 余额宝". McGill University. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  15. ^ McDonald, Tom; Guo, Yanan (April 2021). "'What would happen if you can't see your money?': Visibility and the emergent infrastructures of digital money storage in China". New Media & Society. 23 (4): 715–731. doi:10.1177/1461444820954198. ISSN 1461-4448. S2CID 222337469.
  16. ^ Hsu, Alex (27 June 2013). "Alipay's Issue with CSRC Only a Paperwork Problem; Alipay Will Continue to Expand Yu E Bao". BrightWire News. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  17. ^ Shih, Gerry (16 October 2014). "Alibaba affiliate Alipay rebranded Ant in new financial services push". Reuters. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  18. ^ Russell, Jon. "Alibaba debuts 'smile to pay' facial recognition payments at KFC in China | TechCrunch".
  19. ^ Hua, Xin (13 March 2020). "Alipay aids China's service industry in going digital". Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  20. ^ Zhang, Jane (4 October 2021). "Ant Group, Tencent further open up their mobile payment ecosystems to state-owned UnionPay". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  21. ^ "About Alipay". Alipay. Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  22. ^ Cheng, Evelyn (8 October 2017). "Cash is already pretty much dead in China as the country lives the future with mobile pay". CNBC. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Alipay adds digital storage feature for identification documents". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Online payment services in China: How does Alipay differ from PayPal?". Nanjing Marketing Group. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  25. ^ 戴甜. "'Credit cities' taking shape in China". Chinadaily. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  26. ^ Liu, Charlie (1 March 2017). "Everything You Need to Know about Alipay and WeChat Pay". Medium. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  27. ^ Hsu, Sara. "This Chinese Credit Card Company Plans On Outsmarting Tencent And Alipay With A More Secure Product". Forbes. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Yes, Foreigners Can Use AliPay -- This Is How". Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  29. ^ Xie, Stella Yifan. "Ant Financial's Alipay to Impose Fees on Some Users as Costs Mount". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  30. ^ Li, John Detrixhe, Jane. "Travelers to China can finally experience its cashless economy like a local". Quartz. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  31. ^ "People in China need a green light from Alipay app to move around". The Japan Times. 24 March 2020. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  32. ^ "China's Alipay Is Moving Aggressively Into Foreign Markets - eMarketer". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  33. ^ "Alipay Continues Its Global Expansion Efforts |". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Alipay takes on Apple and PayPal with US expansion". The Verge. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  35. ^ Huang, Echo. "China's Alipay will soon be about as widely accepted as Apple Pay in the US". Quartz. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  36. ^ "Alipay parent firm steps into Bangladesh". The Independent. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  37. ^ "China's Ant brings in CK Hutchison as Hong Kong payments partner". Reuters. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  38. ^ "Ant Financial enters Hong Kong market with AlipayHK app". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  39. ^ "Hong Kong fishmongers poised to lead city's cashless revolution". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  40. ^ "Alipay turns gaze to wet markets in HK e-payments push". EJ Insight. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  41. ^ Yiu, Enoch (28 September 2020). "Ant Bank launch marks another milestone for Ant Group's expansion in Hong Kong ahead of mega listing". South China Morning Post.
  42. ^ "Alipay Chases Chinese Tourists to Japan". 20 December 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  43. ^ Dumlao-Abadilla, Doris (11 April 2018). "AUB, Alipay team up on online payment". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  44. ^ Ong, Michelle (26 September 2018). "Chinese tourists driving WeChat Pay, Alipay growth in Philippines". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  45. ^ "GCash to adopt Alipay cashless payment model in China and rest of Asia". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  46. ^ hermesauto (22 August 2017). "Alipay to expand cashless payments to Singapore banking users, inks deal to expand here". The Straits Times. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  47. ^ "AliPay to launch local wallet for Singapore". TODAYonline. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  48. ^ "Taxis in Seoul to Accept Alipay Starting in 2019". 31 October 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  49. ^ "Alipay will be available in Seoul taxis via kakao pay beginning January 2019". 24 October 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  50. ^ "South Korean Starbucks Accepts Alipay For Tourists". 12 February 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  51. ^ Murphy, Paige. "Tourism Australia to test pilot 12 month program for Chinese tourists - foodservice". Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  52. ^ "First Data to Power Alipay in North America". First Data. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  53. ^ Russell, Jon. "Alipay, China's top mobile payment service, expands to the U.S." TechCrunch. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  54. ^ "OTT Pay Inc. Partners with Cadillac Fairview to Launch Chinese Mobile Payments at Select CF Shopping Centres" (Press release). OTT Pay Inc. Retrieved 9 September 2019 – via Canada Newswire (Cision).
  55. ^ "Alipay partners with Canadian tech firm to expand presence in Canada". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  56. ^ "China's Alipay is becoming more widely available in Canada this week". MobileSyrup. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  57. ^ "Air Canada Expands Acceptance of Alipay and WeChat Pay to North American and Hong Kong Websites". MarketWatch. 25 August 2018.
  58. ^ "Pourquoi choisir Alipay pour les entreprises Françaises ?". 27 September 2022.
  59. ^ "Opna dyr að Kína". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  60. ^ "Hægt að borga með Alipay á Keflavíkurflugvelli". Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  61. ^ "AliPay, UniCredit Team To Enable Chinese Tourists To Pay For Goods In Italy Via AliPay".
  62. ^ "Alipay makes Italian move through Sella tie-up". 17 April 2018.
  63. ^ Holøien, Martine (11 December 2018). "Vipps inngår samarbeid med nettgigant". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  64. ^ "Сбербанк запустит переводы по номеру телефона в Китай в партнёрстве с Alipay" (in Russian). Интерфакс. 21 December 2021.
  65. ^ "Barclaycard partners with Alipay". 19 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  66. ^ European Central Bank (24 February 2018). "Definition of instant payment system".
  67. ^ "Chinese regulators break up Alipay, split off loan business". KrASIA. 13 September 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  68. ^ "China plans to break up Ant's Alipay and force creation of separate loans app - FT". Reuters. 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  69. ^ "Alibaba shares plunge as Beijing 'seeks to break up Ant's Alipay'". The Guardian. 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  70. ^ "Alipay adds privacy feature as Chinese users become increasingly concerned with data protection". KrASIA. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  71. ^ "Government Bans 118 mobile apps which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 2 September 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  72. ^ Yasir, Sameer; Kumar, Hari (2 September 2020). "India Bans 118 Chinese Apps as Indian Soldier Is Killed on Disputed Border". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 April 2022.

External links[edit]