More SA fintechs court Alibaba's Alipay

Alipay was launched in China in 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder, Jack Ma.
Alipay was launched in China in 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder, Jack Ma.

More South African fintech companies are courting Alibaba's international mobile payment app Alipay into the local market.

The latest company to join the bandwagon is mobile payment platform Zapper, which believes the partnership will allow over 450 million active Alipay users from around the world who visit SA the opportunity to pay at more than 10 000 Zapper-affiliated merchants with Alipay.

Alipay is a third-party online payment platform that was launched in China in 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder Jack Ma.

Last month, Peach Payments, a South African fintech, also partnered with Alipay and ACI Worldwide to bring Alipay acceptance to Africa for the first time. This partnership will enable South African businesses to accept payments from the Chinese via their Alipay wallets.

Following the latest partnership, Zapper says when making payments, Alipay users simply scan a Zapper QR code at any Zapper merchant with the Alipay app, confirm the settlement amount, and authorise payment.

In this regard, the foreign customer's payment journey is similar to that experienced by users of the Zapper app, the company says.

It points out this cross-continental alliance is in line with the series of expansions into new verticals that Zapper is currently undertaking to diversify its service range. These verticals include hospitality, retail, bills, e-commerce, donations, parking, fuel and convenience.

With Alipay controlling the majority of the Chinese mobile payments market and Zapper a rapidly burgeoning presence within the local payment landscape, each brand is now better positioned to strengthen its appeal to the Asian and African customer respectively, says Zapper.

By allowing international clientele the opportunity to transact through mobile-app related payments to which they are already accustomed, Zapper says it has shown how fintech developed in Africa is on par with those of its global counterparts.

Jessica Fowlds, marketing and communications manager for Zapper, says there is an increasing number of tourists visiting SA from Asia. "With over 85% of mobile payments currently being made in China by scanning a QR code, the customer journey will be identical when Alipay users purchase goods and services in South Africa."

She points out Zapper has recently launched in Zimbabwe and plans to extend into Kenya. The company currently has a footprint in the UK, US, Sweden and Argentina.

However, she notes e-commerce in SA is still in the early growth stage: "As more and more consumers become aware of the convenience and safety of online shopping, it will become more prominent in the everyday life of the South African shopper."

According to Fowlds, South African consumers still have fraud and security concerns. "Many people are reluctant to shop online over fear of having their card information saved, and used, to access their bank accounts or make fraudulent transactions in their name."

Read time 2min 40sec
Admire Moyo
ITWeb's business editor.

Admire Moyo is ITWeb's business editor. He has been a tech journalist at ITWeb since 2010. Before joining ITWeb, Admire worked for The Herald newspaper based in Zimbabwe. He holds a BA degree (English and History) from Africa University.

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