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Alibaba’s Alipay payment service says konichiwa to Japan as it inks deal with Rakuten

Alibaba

Alipay, China’s popular third-party payment service from tech giant Alibaba, will now be integrated onto Rakuten Global Market, the international e-commerce branch of “Japan’s Amazon.”

According to an official statement from Rakuten, 250 shops on Rakuten Global Market will open up transactions with Alipay, though the company intends to increase that number gradually. Currently, 10,000 of Rakuten’s 42,000 domestic vendors sell goods internationally on Rakuten Global Market.

With over 300 million registered users, Alipay takes the cake as China’s most popular epayment service. Over the past several months, it’s gradually been teaming up with international firms such as foreign convenience stores and airlines, in order to broaden its reach. While those initiatives enable Chinese tourists to book flights and buy last-minute items more easily, partnering with a Japanese ecommerce company enables China’s millions of consumers to more easily get their hands on foreign goods. To that extent, the partnership with a nominal rival might come across as somewhat unexpected, but given how Rakuten Global Market is dwarfed in size by Alibaba’s Taobao, for now, Alibaba likely sees Rakuten less as a competitor, and the Alipay integration might plant the seeds of greater dependence on Alibaba’s homegrown payment solution further down the line.

Alipay processed a total of over $150 billion in transactions by the end of 2013, exceeding the combined volume of purchases on US-based rivals PayPal and Square by about threefold.

Editing by Paul Bischoff

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