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Alipay to U.S. Retailers: Let Us Be Your One-Stop Shop for Selling Into China

The company wants to make it easier for retailers to get orders to China.

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Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Alipay, China’s popular online payments service, wants a piece of the U.S. e-commerce market and is using its close ties with Alibaba to pitch itself as the ideal conduit between American retailers and Chinese shoppers. With the unveiling of a service called Alipay ePass, the company says it wants to help these retailers market goods to Chinese shoppers, accept payments from them, and get orders into their hands quicker.

Alipay, which makes an Internet payment service that is similar to PayPal, has previously cut deals with American Western companies such as H&M, Gilt and Airbnb to offer its service as a payment option to the more than 300 million Chinese customers who have Alipay accounts. Now it wants to expand those relationships. The company has also struck a deal with payments service Stripe to let businesses that use Stripe offer Alipay as a payment option to their online customers.

The move underscores the increasing appetite among Chinese shoppers for Western clothing and beauty brands, and the race to profit off of that interest by Chinese Internet companies and U.S. retailers alike. If Alipay is successful, it could also develop into a competitor to companies such as Borderfree that help U.S. companies sells goods overseas.

(Update: After this article was posted, an Alipay spokeswoman said in an email that Borderfree is currently a partner of Alipay.)

Alipay will use its relationship with Alibaba, its former parent company with which it still maintains close ties, to make this happen. Alibaba will provide marketing support for these retailers to raise awareness of their brands in China, Alipay says, and an Alibaba-affiliated logistics company is expected to remove some hurdles that traditionally present themselves when shipping goods into China. Alipay will take a cut of sales in exchange for its services, though the company declined to provide details on how much.

In a press briefing in New York City on Tuesday, Alipay U.S. president Jingming Li said its pitch to retailers centers on lowering the barrier to purchase for Chinese customers who would rather use Alipay than a dual-currency credit card.

“We are really targeting the young professional [who has] probably been Western-educated,” he said.

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