Jingming Li, president and chief architect of Ant Financial Americas, delivers a keynote address at the Transact 15 conference in San Francisco, California April 1, 2015.
Photograph by Noah Berger — Reuters
By Leena Rao
December 3, 2015

Alipay, the digital wallet of choice in China, is gaining traction beyond its geographic roots. A record number of Chinese are now using the service to shop with U.S. merchants.

The number of China-based Alipay users that shopped from U.S. retail sites over Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday increased 700% from last year, according Alipay. Meanwhile, total U.S. sales from China-based shoppers using Alipay increased 15 times versus last year.

Alipay, which is owned by Ant Financial, was originally created by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA). It has 400 million registered customers, virtually all Chinese, who use the service to buy products online, through their phones, and in stores.

The closest U.S. equivalent is digital payment service PayPal. But Alipay is almost triple the size.

In the past year, Alipay has opened its door to U.S. merchants like Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue accepting payments through its service. Doing so makes it easier for Chinese consumers to buy items using their Alipay accounts.

“Among the savviest shoppers in the world, Chinese consumers are continuously seeking high quality U.S. products and Western merchandise that they can’t find in China,” said Jingming Li, president of Alipay U.S. “With better logistics and localized payment options now available to make cross-border purchases, we expect this tremendous growth of Chinese consumers to continue throughout the holiday season, particularly as U.S. e-commerce retailers provide more discounts and promotions.”

The U.S. holiday sales volume is small compared to the amount on China’s busiest online shopping day, known as Singles Day, on Nov. 11. This year Alipay processed $14.3 billion in sales by Alibaba. Overall, it, Alipay powered 710 million transactions including as many as 85,900 per second.

Alipay, which was recently valued at $45 billion after its latest funding round, is expected to go public in 2016.

For more about Alibaba, watch this video:


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