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Alipay sets its sights on Europe

In its biggest push out of Asia yet, Alipay — the payment app run by Alibaba's affiliate Ant Financial — will launch in Europe this summer.

Alibaba is hoping that its 450+ million Alipay users will continue to use the digital payments option abroad in Europe allowing the company to take advantage of the increasing number of Chinese tourists who are spending more.

On offer in Europe
According to reports on the launch plans, the app will be able to recognize when users were traveling in Europe and then provide notifications and reviews on nearby places they could pay with the app. When a user attempts to pay, a barcode will be shown on the user's device which the merchant can scan. Alipay officials anticipates the expansion will help them gain a massive amount of users — and new countries — over the next decade.

"The vision is targeting two billion people within next five to ten years, not only in China but other countries too," Sabrina Peng, president of Alipay International, told CNBC.

Chinese consumers will be able to use Alipay in the U.K., Germany, France and Italy to begin with starting in the summer.

Future plans call for partnership
But Europe isn’t the first market for Alipay outside of China. Last year, Ant Financial upped their stake in Indian payments firm Paytm as it looks to expand into India. Peng said Alipay is “actively looking” for partners in Asia.

But rather than heavily invest in European payment firms, Ant Financial is reportedly talking with various potential partners across Europe — such as Germany’s Wirecard — to get them on board with Alipay.

Partnerships will be key for the platform in order to get merchants sending through offers and deals. The intent is not to compete directly with the likes of Samsung Pay and Apple Pay whose services allow people to purchase items with their phone. Instead, Ant Financial wants merchants to use Alipay as a tool to drive revenues by allowing merchants insight to their users' consumer behavior.

Peng told CNBC, "Merchants are not crying for another payment solution. What they want is more business. We are not a payment service, we are more than payments. Payment is very critical part of the circle, it is not the only part of the circle.”

"For merchants it's the same story, they want to know Chinese consumers, Asian consumers, Japanese, South Korean, Indians, but it's hard for them to know their overseas customer because they lack a platform. That's what we are doing: connecting consumers and merchants together to help them connect better."

Tags: Alibaba, AliPay, payments

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