E-commerce rules in China, where cash and credit cards have been replaced by mobile payment solutions. When it comes to Chinese online payment apps—or digital wallets—the first names that come to mind are Alipay and WeChat Pay. Although WeChat Pay enjoys an enviable position among Chinese customers—because of its huge user base—Alipay is currently the most popular mobile payment system in China. But what exactly is Alipay and how does it work? Here are 5 things you need to know:

1. As of March 31, 2018, the number of Alipay users reached 870 million. It is the world’s leading mobile and online payment platform, with over 100 million daily transactions. Founded in 2004 by e-commerce giant Alibaba, Alipay is a pioneer in the field of online payments. It is currently operated by Ant Financial Services Group—one of the world’s largest FinTech companies.

2. Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a global lifestyle super app. Users can search for nearby merchants and exclusive discounts, book a restaurant, split the bill with friends, write reviews, hail a taxi, pay utility bills, access overseas merchant information and special offers, book travel packages, manage investment portfolios and finances—the list goes on—directly from within the app.

3. Alipay supports all mobile devices and computer browsers—even those not supported by WeChat—as well as transactions in 18 major foreign currencies, partnering with over 400 financial institutions. In addition to being fast and easy, Alipay is a secure and reliable way to pay for goods and services online. It provides multiple security mechanisms to protect user accounts, and offers payment protection and 100% reimbursement for unauthorized transactions.

4. Alipay is helping all kinds of businesses join the cashless economy. In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Alipay’s in-store payment service covers more than 120,000 retail stores across the world, and 800 merchants in Canada, including most Cadillac Fairview mall locations. Alipay also works with overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese tourists, who can use the app in 70 countries.

5. Alipay offers benefits for both consumers and merchants. For instance, Chinese customers can pay in RMB, and your business receives payments in Canadian dollars. The platform also offers customer incentives like cash back, merchant incentives such as discounts for using QR codes for offline payments, and the opportunity for businesses to increase their reach through Alipay’s marketing campaigns.

China is Canada’s third-largest overseas market for tourists, and Chinese visitors contribute over $1 billion annually to the country’s economy. It’s a lucrative market that your business could tap into—if it offers the same buying experience Chinese customers are used to at home.

OTT Pay—the authorized partner of Alipay in Canada—gives you the tools and support you need to offer Chinese customers their preferred payment method. Contact us here to get started.