Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, will open its Alipay mobile app platform to 40 million service providers in China over the next three years and help them digitize their offerings, it said on Tuesday.
The plan marks a major milestone as Alipay continues to strengthen its positioning in China, evolving from a platform that provides inclusive financial services to an open, vibrant digital ecosystem that offers users a gateway into a comprehensive digital lifestyle, right in the palms of their hands.
Alipay said it planned to help 40 million vendors “digitize” their services over the next three years by enabling them to open “mini-programs” on Alipay. This, in turn, will allow the vendors to tap its 900 million-strong user base in China.
“Building a one-stop digital lifestyle platform not only creates immense value for our users – but it will also play an essential role in accelerating the digital transformation of the service industry and unlocking more growth opportunities,” says Ant Financial Chief Executive Officer Simon Hu.
Meituan, which is currently China’s third most valuable internet company by market capitalization, offers services varying from on-demand food delivery, movie ticketing, to hotel and travel booking on its platform.
“Since the very beginning, Alipay’s success has always depended on the success of our partners, and that is why we believe the only way to best serve consumers is to open up our platform further, so service providers can better tap into consumer demands,” Simon Hu added.