Alipay still not in Germany

Author: Marcus Schilling
Date: 16.10.2018

Focus on Chinese travelers

The Chinese payment service Alipay will not compete with Apple, Google and Co. in the app payment business and will not enter the European market. The enterprise, which has over 700 million users, wants to expand its business only on the local markets in China and surroundings. In Germany and Europe, Alipay will continue to focus only on Chinese customers.

“Alipay is expanding with local e-wallet solutions in South and Southeast Asia, India, Thailand and the Philippines,” says Roland Palmer, head of Alipay in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “With these solutions, we are currently represented in nine markets outside China. In Europe, we are not planning this for the near future.”

Alipay in Germany only usable by Chinese customers

Alipay and the Chinese competitor WeChat are far ahead of Western providers in terms of user numbers. According to market research estimations, Apple Pay had 127 million people worldwide at the end of 2017. In Germany, numerous shops accept the Alipay app, such as the “Wild Mouse” and other rides at the Munich Oktoberfest. The KaDeWe department store group is now also accepting Alipay. In Germany, the Chinese payment service cooperates with the Dax group Wirecard from Upper Bavaria, which has also joined forces with WeChat. However, Alipay only works with a Chinese bank account, so only Chinese customers can pay with the app.

“The number of German retailers who accept Alipay rose by 95 percent from April 1 to September 30 and accounts now several thousand” reports Palmer. “We are following Chinese consumers and are currently concentrating on five core areas: Airports, department stores, luxury shops, drugstores and hotels”.

Business focused on Chinese travelers

Alipay is a company of Ant Financial, a subsidiary of the IT giant Alibaba. European boss Palmer works in Amsterdam, the German address is in Munich. “We will continue to grow in Germany, but our goal is not to offer Alipay in all German businesses” Palmer explains. “We want to be where the Chinese travelers are.”

In 2017, 131 million tourists travelled abroad from China. “In 2016 it was only 122 million” said Palmer. “Most of them visit neighboring countries, but there were also 1.6 million in Germany, almost seven percent more than in the previous year. Alipay had different target groups with different shopping habits: “Travel groups still account for the largest share, but the proportion of Chinese individual travelers is growing steadily. Tourists in travel groups are particularly interested in buying luxury goods.”