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Alipay teams up with Ingenico to reach European markets

Alipay mobile payment platform has partnered with French payment company Ingenico to allow European vendors to offer Alipay proximity payments to Chinese tourists.22 Aug 2016

Proximity mobile payments are payments made with a mobile phone using near-field communication technology.

The partnership recognises the growing importance of Chinese tourists to European retailers, and those tourists' preference for using Alipay, Ingenico said.

Nearly 20 million Chinese people visited Europe last year, with a total purchasing power of $21 billion, it said. These tourists will now be able "to use the Alipay app the same way as they are used to back home in China, where Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler that features the convenient booking of taxis and hotels, the purchase of movie tickets and many more functions directly from the app," Ingenico said.

Alipay has 450 million active users, and is run by Ant Financial Services Group.

Douglas Feagin, head of Alipay International said: "We’re delighted to partner with Ingenico to offer a seamless payment experience to our customers across multiple touch points in Europe. We are convinced that the Alipay in-store payment via Ingenico will be much appreciated by the Chinese tourists in Europe."

Ingenico ePayments already processes online cross-border Alipay transactions for international businesses such as Air France - KLM and Etihad, it said.

China is the world's largest market for proximity payments, with payments from mobile phones doubling over the past year. An estimated 195.3 million people will use the technology in China in 2016, up 45.8% since last year, according to a survey by eMarketer.

By 2020, almost half of all smartphone users in China will use the technology, eMarketer predicted.

The US, by comparison, will have 37.5 million proximity payment users this year.