A year after Alipay ventured into Australia and New Zealand, demand for cross-border payments among Chinese consumers has grown. Alipay’s next focus should be domestic consumer acquisition.
One year on after entering Australia and New Zealand, Alipay’s performance has been positive and the road ahead should be relatively straightforward as demand for cross-border payments among Chinese consumers will only increase. The expansion can be attributed to the strong buying power of Chinese consumers, and the resulting opportunity for Alipay and its offshore affiliates will be impressive.
In terms of online transactions, Australia is the fifth largest destination for Alipay users in China. A recent conversation with Shawn Guan, operations manager of Paybang, Alipay’s Australian joint venture, revealed that by the end of 2015 Paybang had processed over A$100m through Alibaba’s online commerce portal for over 300 SME merchants in Australia and New Zealand. This led to the launch of Alipay’s Australian operations in November 2014, as soon as the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement was signed.
Alipay is now taking the opportunity to promote its brand among Chinese consumers in Australia and New Zealand. Paybang is realizing the potential of getting the Alipay mobile app accepted by local merchants after consecutive years of record-breaking numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Australia and New Zealand. Paybang has begun testing the market by signing up 30 merchants in areas most popularly frequented by Chinese tourists.
Most organizations undertake overseas expansion in order to gain international market share. In contrast the driver behind Alipay’s venture into Australia, New Zealand, and other markets is essentially derived from the sheer size and demand of the Chinese consumer base. While keeping existing Chinese customers happy, expansion abroad will be a valuable opportunity for Alipay to better understand international markets and strategize how best to target domestic consumers.
By Arnie Cho, Senior Consumer Payments Analyst