Alipay is a third-party online and mobile payment platform that belongs to the Alibaba group. It is supported by Alibaba, Taobao, AliExpress, Tmall and an increasing number of independent online and offline stores.

Alipay started life in 2004 as an online escrow service, which allowed buyers and sellers to trade with confidence in a trustless e-commerce environment. Today Alipay provides domestic and cross-border payment services through partnerships with more than 200 financial institutions, including the leading national and regional banks in China as well as the major international card schemes.

In 2011, Alipay developed a QR-code payment system where customers can either generate their own unique QR code on their mobile phone, or scan the merchant’s QR code in physical stores to pay. Various other bill payment, mobile top-up and P2P payment options are also available. The system draws funds from the customer’s bank, card or prepaid Alipay account.

As the most popular online wallet in China, Alipay hold over 55% of the mainland Chinese wallet market share ( iResearch Consulting Group) and count over 1.3 bn active users as of March 2020 (Alipay). According to Alipay, as of June 2020, the company had processed USD 17 tr worth of transactions in mainland China over the course of a year.

Mainland Chinese consumers increasingly buy from global brands, especially in the luxury, retail and international travel segments