Alipay Launches New Partnership with VTB in Russian Push
You’ve got to hand it to Alipay, you really do. These guys have been on an absolute tear for the last several months now, using partnerships and purchases to expand the number of places throughout the world where Alipay is accepted. Now, word out of the company points to a new expansion, this time calling on one of Russia’s largest banking groups: the VTB Group.
The new partnership lends Alipay access to over 120,000 new point-of-sale (POS) systems active in Russia, which in turn makes the VTB Group the biggest operation offering Alipay service in Russia. Current projections suggest over one million Chinese will enjoy the benefits of this new partnership every year.
Right now, the new service will be in a pilot mode for the month of August, but before the end of the year, the entire VTB network should have access to the service. VTB projects substantial demand for Alipay in several parts of Russia, including mainstays like Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in Vladivostok, Irkutsk, and several others. It’s also projected that Alipay access will mean greater conversion rates and a higher average purchase value, especially as Chinese tourism only increases.
That’s a lot to expect going forward, but given both the size and the comparative affluence of the Chinese tourist class, it may not be that out of line. Offering said Chinese tourist class an easy, familiar alternative to make payments abroad will likely be welcome not only to those tourists, but also to the businesses those tourists frequent.
It’s also worth noting how Alipay here is looking to seize so much of the market itself. It’s enough to make one wonder if WeChat Pay has even tried to get in, or if Alipay just beat it to the punch so often it actively decided to stay out. Just why we only hear about Alipay on this front is unclear, but what is clear is that Alipay is running roughshod over its competitors.
Alipay will likely continue this expansionary course for some time, and effectively insert itself just about anywhere where Chinese tourists set for a destination. That’s a good move for them, and a good move for Alipay, who can effectively make substantial cash from processing all those tourist payments.