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Airbnb Adds Alipay as Payment Option as China’s Digital Influence Grows

A way to serve more travelers from China.

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.

Chinese Internet payment system Alipay continues to extend its reach across borders, this time inking a deal to show up as a payment option on home rental service Airbnb.

Airbnb has been slowly rolling out the Alipay option since the summer for people who visit its site from a Chinese IP address. One big reason: It felt it was missing out on business from Chinese travelers who didn’t have a dual-currency credit card or the PayPal account necessary to purchase a stay through Airbnb, according to its global payments head, Lex Bayer.

Still, business from travelers who live in China has grown more than 250 percent year over year at Airbnb, Bayer said. Since Airbnb added the Alipay option, 60 percent of new users have chosen to pay with it, he said.

The Airbnb integration is the latest tie-up with an American company for Alipay, which is a PayPal-like service that was founded as part of Alibaba but has since been spun off. Earlier this year, Alipay announced a deal with payments startup Stripe to help merchants that use Stripe’s payment system offer Alipay as a payment option to their customers.

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