A partnership with vendor Ingenico will embed Chinese giant Alipay into Point-Of-Sale terminals across Europe.
The deal makes it easier for Chinese travellers to pay with the Alipay app on their smartphones in European shops and restaurants.
Sabrina Peng, president of Alipay International, said in April that the Chinese firm was coming to Europe this summer to serve its travelling user base, a significant market.
With this partnership, Alipay will be added to Ingenico’s in-store payment gateway, which will allow acquirers across Europe to integrate and offer Alipay acceptance to their merchants.
In April, Peng described the volume of Chinese travellers as being “like a moving country”. Actually, it’s like a pretty big country. The number of travellers from the country is forecast to reach 234 million by 2020. A big chunk of that figure will be visiting Europe.
The idea is to reach those travellers with the same services as they experience with the Alipay app at home, including reviews, offers and coupons, as well as payments.
Jacques Behr, Ingenico’s head of Europe and Africa, described the partnership in an interview with Reuters as a “must have” but would not quantify its value.
“It’s a bit like not offering air conditioning in a car. If you’re a serious player in the world of payments you cannot say ‘No, I won’t do that, it doesn’t interest me’.”
Alipay previously announced a partnership with German vendor Wirecard in November last year whereby Chinese users can pay with their smartphone and Alipay app at certain POS terminals in Europe by using integrated barcode functionality from the German vendor without incurring currency exchange fees.
More partnerships like the Ingenico and Wirecard deals will likely be announced as Alipay pushes ahead with its plans for Europe.