Uber and Alipay are extending their partnership beyond China’s borders.
The companies partnered within the country in 2014, with the ride-hailing service then allowing customers to pay via the Alipay mPayment platform. But until now, when Alipay users have taken Uber outside of China, they’ve had to pay using dual-currency credit cards and in USD. With the new expansion, Alipay users who travel from China to Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan will be able to start paying in RMB using Alipay.
The move comes just ahead of the Chinese New Year, a busy travel season that saw 125 million trips out of China last year, according to one estimate. Thus it should bring in considerable revenues for Uber and Alipay if the expansion helps to promote use of their services.
In many other countries, Uber’s main digital payment partner has been PayPal; and while all the major mPayment platforms have been keen to break into the Chinese market—with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay expected to finally launch there soon—it’s Alipay’s breach out of the country that could raise some eyebrows. It may be an indication that Alipay aims to be a bigger global competitor in the mPayment market than it already is.