ALIBABA’S financial services affiliate Ant Financial Services Group said it will provide incentives worth 1 billion yuan (US$152 million) within three years to at least 1 million independent software vendors to offer services 10 million offline merchants.
Boasting more than 450 million real-name registered users, Alipay, Ant’s online payment tool, has become one of the key services consumers use when they pay for offline services.
Software providers will be able to access data analyzing abilities, security solutions and a capabilities offered by Alibaba Group free of charge.
By offering services to offline merchants, Alipay hopes that its core functions extend beyond just payments. It has become a de-facto portal that users could access not only online but also offline services that are offered by vendors and third-party suppliers.
Alipay leads China’s mobile payment market with 43.3 percent share in the first quarter of this year, more than doubled the 20 percent held by its rival Tencent’s Tenpay, according to domestic Internet consultancy iResearch Inc.