Alipay serves 1.2 billion users after three-year global expansion push

This figure includes users from its international e-wallet partners.

Photo: Stock.tuchong.com

Ant Financial’s chairman and CEO Eric Jing said on Alibaba’s 2019 Investor Day held in Hangzhou on Tuesday that Alipay and its international e-wallet partners have collectively served 1.2 billion users worldwide by the end of June since the fintech company launched its globalization strategy in May 2016, according to a company’s press release.

That is a 160% increase compared with 450 million users before the globalization strategy was set in place and is a 20% growth in just six months since the end of December 2018 when the third-party payment platform hit the milestone of 1 billion users. The figures don’t reveal the exact split between domestic and international use of Alipay.

In the past three years, Alipay has focused on global growth through enabling overseas merchants to accept cashless payments from Chinese tourists, working with local e-wallet partners, and through leveraging synergies with Alibaba’s digital economy to facilitate global e-commerce, said Jing. Alibaba currently owns a 33% stake of Ant Financial36Kr reported.

Even with the new user data revealed by Alipay, it is still hard to tell whether it beats its chief rival in payments, WeChat Pay.

WeChat Pay, which surfaced much later than Alipay in China, has managed to lure some users from Alipay. WeChat Pay had more than 80 million active users by the end of June 2018 while Tencent disclosed that WeChat had about 1.06 billion monthly active users (MAUs) in the second quarter of 2018, according to the official website of WeChat Pay.

For the second quarter of this year Tencent reported that the MAUs for WeChat were at 1.13 billion, without disclosing the user numbers for WeChat Pay.

The huge user bases of Alipay and WeChat Pay are still mainly rooted in China. Alipay’s Jing also said at the event on Tuesday that the platform had over 900 million annual active users in China by the end of June 2019.

He added that 80% of Alipay users in China used at least three categories of services offered by Ant Financial and its financial partners, which are payment, wealth management, micro financing, insurance, and credit services.