Shopify inks deal with Chinese digital payment giant in bid to expand Asian reach

Shopify sign

After partnering with China’s most famous social media platform last month, Shopify has signed a deal with the country’s largest digital wallet platform as it continues to expand its reach into Asia.

The Ottawa-based e-commerce firm said this week it’s now allowing merchants in the U.S. to accept payments through Alipay. Shopify says the mobile payment company serves more than a billion users in China alone.

Shopify merchants have previously processed payments via Alipay through third-party providers, but the company says this new agreement will “reduce friction for consumers looking to make purchases with their preferred payment method.”

The deal follows a recent agreement with Chinese video-sharing app TikTok that will allow Shopify merchants to generate short “shoppable video ads” on the popular social media channel.

Shopify says it’s hoping Alipay will help it tap into popular Asian shopping events such as the lunar new year in February and the 11.11 Global Festival, an 11-day campaign held each November. During this year’s event, U.S.-based businesses earned more than $5.4 billion in sales from Chinese consumers.

Growth opportunity

Shopify’s vice-president of merchant services, Kaz Nejatian, said the Asian market presents “an enormous growth opportunity” for the company.

“Through today’s partnership, we’ll help our merchants provide the best possible shopping experiences for this new audience of cross-border consumers,” he said in a statement.

Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed. Shopify said the Alipay gateway is now available to its merchants in the U.S. and will be rolled out in several Asian countries in the future.

Shopify shares ​– which took a hit earlier this month when “stay-at-home” stocks tumbled on news that COVID-19 vaccines have shown promising results ​– ended Thursday trading up nearly four per cent at $1,262 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.