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Alipay launches in the US

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s payment system Alipay has inked a deal with payment processor firm First Data that will allow customers to use the service at four million merchants, reports Bloomberg.

The partnership will allow Chinese tourists who visit the U.S. to use their mobile phones to complete transactions at 4 million merchants and retailers around the country. That compares to about 4.5 million U.S. merchants that currently accept Apple Pay.

“Our goal is to extend reliable payment services to the over four million Chinese consumers who visit North America every year,” said the president of Alipay North America, Souheil Badran, in a statement.

“Extending our partnership with a premier partner like First Data provides the merchants with a seamless integration and access to consumers who want to continue paying with their lifestyle mobile app.”

As noted by Bloomberg, given U.S. consumer’s relative indifference to mobile payments, Alipay’s entry into the country may actually benefit Apple, as more retailers gear up to offer tap-and-go transactions to shoppers, be they Chinese tourists or US residents.

Alipay has about 450 million customers worldwide, but Alipay’s deal with First Data aims to offset the mobile payment’s loss of ground in China to rival Tencent, which has successfully leveraged the popularity of WeChat to roll out WeChat Pay.

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