Alibaba‘s payments system, Alipay, which is operated by Ant Financial has reported that they now have 700 million active users. That’s an increase of 200 million users in the past year. Ant Financial’s executive chairman and CEO Eric Jing revealed the number of active users at Alibaba’s 2018 Investor Day.
In part this astonishing growth is being fuelled by greater use of the service outside of the Chinese mainland, as the company has acknowledged:
China is just back from a two-month summer holiday, where millions traveled abroad for a long-awaited vacation. With Alipay’s growing presence outside of the Chinese mainland, overseas Alipay spending skyrocketed this summer compared to last year’s figures.
– Ant Financial
Alipay also says it processed 2.6 times more in-store and overseas transactions this summer compared to last. Needless to say, it is most popular in Asia and, outside of China, Hong Kong was the geography where it was most used followed by Thailand and South Korea.
Elsewhere, the number of Alipay transactions in Russia increased over 5000% year on year, because of a large number of Chinese tourists went to enjoy the World Cup there in June and July. In addition, countries in Northern and Western Europe, specifically Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, all boasted double-digit growth in Alipay usage and payments volume.
This is a useful reminder of the size of the Asian market when it comes to ecommerce and online payments and illustrates why China, and also India, are of such great interest to the likes of Amazon and Walmart. China itself has a population of 1.2 billion but international growth is also vital to expansion, even for the likes of Alibaba.