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AliBaba Payment Processing in China
a very significant development in China

 3:16 am on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba is launching an online payment service it hopes will become the preferred way to buy things online in the world's second-biggest Internet market by users.

With the official rollout of Alipay, privately held Alibaba is trying to steal a march on U.S. rival eBay Inc., the online auction firm whose PayPal service dominates the online payments market.


This is a very strategic and important move for AliBaba.

For anyone following this market, 1 of the locks just got opened :)


Asked if he planned to make any acquisitions, Ma couldn't resist taking a jab at eBay, which firmly planted a stake in China with its purchase of auction site EachNet for $180 million.

"Taobao is interested in buying eBay China. Everyone says 'Why don't you sell (your company) to eBay?' I say, why don't they sell to us?" Ma joked.



 3:22 am on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's pretty big news. AliBaba have been coming on strong for a while now. I wasn't sure that their strategy was going to be successful, but it looks to be working.

Thanks for that article link Shak.


 8:16 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is a problem that will be solved sooner or later. Chinese E-commerce is not going to be stopped by this one problem. If this don't work, the next one might..

I saw the process.. it seems to give buyer a lot more protection than seller.. after all, buyer must notify taobao after they received the item, than the fund will be transferred.

At a glance, seems like a lot of things could go wrong, but I didn't look into it yet. I am sure its better than I thought..


 12:24 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

An escrow-type service like Alipay could be key to opening up a market like this for ecommerce payments. China's banking infrastructure and economy still aren't set up for credit cards the way some Western countries are. This is modeled on the way a lot of payments are handled in the real world. I think this has a lot of potential.

I could even see something like this working in Japan. As we know, PayPal (eBay) has made a truly half-hearted effort in Japan. An Alipay system could work throughout Asia. That's probably what caught the eye of SoftBank.


 6:28 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the article. Very interesting. And a great step forward for Chinese e-commerce. Which of course we all know has great potential. Just a few Q:

Q1) Is this service even open to individuals? Could I as an individual receive money with the service? Or is it only open to state registered enterprises?

Q2) RE: "The service is supported by four big Chinese banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and China Merchants Bank."

So, to use the service (to receive money from persons in China) am I write in saying that I must open an account with one of these banks? Can an individual foreigner open an account with one of these banks?

Q3) If I had a bank account with one of these Chinese banks - could I then wire the money in the Chinese bank to a bank abroad? I have heard something about it being difficult to move money out of China - but am not too clued up on it.
Perhaps one work around would be too wire the money from one of these domestic Chinese banks to a Chinese branch of Citibank or HSBC - then perhaps use an international Citibank or HSBC debit card (with the cirrus symbol) to withdraw the money in the West.


 12:09 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

The Alipay website [alipay.com] has a FAQ page [alipay.com] that might answer some of your questions.


 5:52 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

The thing is that I cannot read Chinese. Which begs the Q why I am even interested in this topic. Well...

However, I did use the Google translation tool (pretty good actually - very impressed) and could make out the gist of the FAQ. There didn't seem to be anything addressing my Q's in the FAQ.

To add one further Q - just how big a deal do you think this new payment system is? Bill - r u dashing to add it to your site? Could this be a major catalyst for an exploding chinese ecommerce sector?


 4:26 am on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

There aren't any ecommerce payment systems of this scale targeting the China market, so yes, it is a big deal. They are taking jabs at eBay as well, so you can see that they're looking to get into this field in earnest.

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