When China’s largest payments processor makes partnership overtures, they deserve notice.
That’s what happened today, when Alipay, which has about 700 million registered accounts, said it wants to partner with PayPal, in addition to its ongoing talks with Apple to join Apple Pay. Here’s what Joseph Tsai, vice chairman of Alibaba, which effectively owns Alipay, told Bloomberg Businessweek:
“If you look at our footprint of being the largest online payment company in China, and PayPal’s position of having a very good international position, not just in the U.S. but also in some other countries, these are some complementary footprints,” Tsai said today in Hangzhou, China.
PayPal has 157 million active accounts. More than half of PayPal’s revenue comes from outside the US.
Alipay’s overture comes as Alibaba records a record volume of one-day e-commerce sales in China. The one-day sale, which as of this morning had generated more than $8 billion of revenue, marks what is called Singles’ Day in China. Alibaba makes it an annual sales day.
As for Apple, Alipay officials are said to be in active negotiations, following the disclosure last month that Jack Ma, Alibaba’s chairman, and Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, had discussed an Alipay-Apple Pay joint venture.
Whether Apple will ditch Alipay if it does a PayPal deal remains to be seen.