On November 17, 2020, Shopify, a well-known online shopping service provider, announced that it had entered into a partnership with Alipay, the most popular payment product in China. When a consumer is shopping in an online store driven by Shopify, they can use Alipay to make payments more quickly and safely.
Alipay is a third-party payment application owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and it is also the most popular third-party payment application in China. It can even be said that it is not the Chinese version of PayPal, because it is far more important to Chinese people than PayPal is to Americans.
Alipay does not belong to Alibaba Group, but to its affiliated company Ant Group. Ant Group sought to list the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong at the same time in October but later failed because of regulation.
According to official figures released by Ant Group, Alipay had 1.2 billion years of active users worldwide by the end of 2019, of which more than 900 million were on the Chinese mainland. This means that Alipay is the second most important App, on the Internet in China after Wechat. In fact, it is an entrance to Alibaba’s mobile ecosystem.
On the one hand, all the communication-related needs of Chinese users can be solved in Wechat. On the other hand, all the financial and consumer-related needs of Chinese users can be addressed in Alipay. People not only use Alipay for online shopping, but also for offline payments, applying for loans, paying social security fees, ordering food takeout, and so on.
Previously, it was cumbersome for overseas merchants to access Alipay gateways. Because most of Alipay’s developer documents and communities are written in Chinese. The cooperation between Shopify and Alipay has significantly reduced the difficulty for small e-commerce merchants to sell goods to Chinese consumers.
According to the official announcement of Shopify, Alipay Gateway is currently only available to American merchants. But they plan to expand the function to Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the future.