October 31, 2018

Alipay and the emergence of the “lifestyle super app”


When Alipay talks about the global traveler, travel is not the purpose. The purpose is having fun… so Alipay is trying to enable that.

Now described as a “lifestyle super app”, Alipay serves over 700 million Chinese daily active users, with services ranging from payments to financial services, social platforms, merchant resources and life services. Since its beginnings in 2004, it has continuously layered services on top of its original payments function, catering to every consumer need imaginable.

It is currently present in 40 countries, with 10 in South-east Asia alone. However, interestingly, its first priority is not to expand its international customer base, but rather “[to follow] Chinese travelers and enable them” digitally worldwide instead. Yet getting merchants to adopt the technology at first was not that straightforward, as many found the concept of mobile payments difficult to wrap their heads around.

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