Alipay, China’s leading third-party online payment platform created by Alibaba Group in 2004, will expand its role in the United States as they’ve become a payment option for Airbnb, a short-term lodging rental service.
Alipay is the largest online payment service in China, and the inclusion of Airbnb should facilitate Chinese consumers’ use of both services. Prior to Airbnb allowing its customers to use Alipay, Chinese travelers would have to use international credit cards, which many of the consumers did not have.
The union between Alipay and Airbnb will allow Chinese customers to pay online with renminbi, the currency of the People’s Republic of China, while the foreign property owners would receive the payments in their currency through bank transfers.
According to Lex Bayer, Airbnb’s global payments head, “business from travelers who live in China has grown more than 250 percent year over year at Airbnb.” Airbnb was missing out on the large portion of Chinese consumers that did not have an international credit card or PayPal account, and that’s why they’ve paired with Alipay.
“The short-term rental is a good option for me since the houses posted online always have at least two rooms, which is cheaper than booking two separate hotel rooms,” Roger Jin, a Chinese student who is studying in the U.S., said.
He used the site to rent for his parents and grandparents who wished to see him graduate. Jin said he is also pleased with the privacy protection of Airbnb.
“Both hosts and tenants’ identities were verified by Airbnb,” he said. “Before booking, hosts and guests could only contact each other on Airbnb which prevents users’ info from being leaked.”
Airbnb claims more than 17 million users in over 190 countries and 34,000 cities. Alipay, in comparison, has 300 million users in China. This looks to be a beneficial pairing for both parties.