Walmart, the world’s largest retail group, is teaming up with Alipay to launch mobile payments to 25 Walmart-owned stores across Shenzhen in the south China province of Guangdong.
Customers at those stores can now make purchases using the Alipay Wallet app, a mobile-payment tool in China similar to Apple Pay or Google Wallet. A Walmart representative said the company plans to extend the service to more of its network of around 400 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the country.
Alipay is the payments affiliate of China’s biggest electronic commerce (e-commerce) company, Alibaba and handles transactions for Alibaba in a way similar to PayPal’s handling of eBay’s sales. Alipay, which claims 300m registered users, is controlled by Alibaba’s founder and chairman, Jack Ma.
The new partnership offers Walmart with an opportunity to boost sales in the massive Chinese market, where its growth has so far been limited. The deal also enables Alibaba to continue acting as a bridge for Western firms to reach and expand in the Chinese market, increasing its relevance to these major companies and bringing more services to its home country.
The deal comes just as Apple’s chief executive (CEO), Tim Cook, confirms that his company is in discussions with Alibaba about bringing Apple’s mobile-payments service, Apple Pay, to China, which could provide an additional service for Alibaba customers there, potentially working to complement Alipay Wallet.
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