The Alibaba Group's internet retail subsidiaries, Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com  have teamed up with convenience store giant 7-Eleven to deliver a more efficient payment tool for Hong Kong consumers to shop online.
The new Alipay card was jointly unveiled yesterday by the two Taobao companies and 7-Eleven, which has started offering the electronic voucher at its more than 920 stores in the city.
"Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com  combined have already exceeded one million registered users in Hong Kong," said Daphne Lee, the director for Taobao's international business.
"The majority of these are active users, who have the option of using this new secure payment method to shop from the more than six million sellers on the two online shopping platforms."
Registered users in Hong Kong can pay with their Visa, MasterCard or JCB credit cards for purchases made on Taobao Marketplace, the mainland's most popular consumer-to-consumer online marketplace, and Tmall.com  the market's biggest business-to-consumer online shopping website.
The two platforms combined offer more than 800 million product listings.
Lee said the Alipay card provided local consumers, who opt not to pay with their credit card, to conveniently top up, or add more money, on their Alipay accounts used for shopping online.
The Alipay card is sold in denominations of 100 yuan (HK$124), 200 yuan, 500 yuan and 1,000 yuan.
Before the availability of this new payment tool, local online shoppers had to go through certain third-party payments providers to help them top up their Alipay accounts. Others buy authorised pre-paid phone cards, which they use to top up their accounts. But these cards carry a service charge, which makes them costlier to use than the new Alipay electronic vouchers.
Jake Koh, the group category controller for 7-Eleven Hong Kong, whose local operator is conglomerate Dairy Farm, said negotiations with the Taobao companies to bring the new payment scheme to the city took about three months.
"With our extensive network and 24-hour operation, users of Taobao Marketplace and Tmall. com will be able to purchase the Alipay Card any time," Koh said.
He pointed out that "the next logical step", which the parties are working on, was to provide a streamlined logistics support and one-stop pickup option of Taobao-bought goods from any 7-Eleven store.
Hong Kong shoppers who use any online retail platform currently can pick up their goods in 120 7-Eleven stores.
Lee said: "Our priority is to further enhance the user experience in the Hong Kong market."
Without elaborating, she said the overall transaction volume generated by the two Taobao platforms in Hong Kong grew 50 per cent in the first half of this year. The average number of orders made by Hong Kong online shoppers during the same period increased 36 per cent.