Alipay, the mainland's largest online payment services provider, is poised to ratchet up the expansion of its user base when it enters Taiwan next year.
An affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Alipay has more than 650 million registered users, support for transactions in 14 major currencies and partnerships with up to 100 financial institutions, including Visa and MasterCard.
"In the first half of next year, we are looking at a big push into Taiwan," Alipay vice-president Fan Zhiming said in a report yesterday from Alibaba.
The move follow Alibaba's overall strategy of measured expansion into markets with large ethnic Chinese populations, including Singapore and Malaysia.
Fan, who also serves as president of the domestic business group under Alibaba's small and micro financial services unit, said Alipay's foray into Taiwan was subject to the island's strict rules on third-party payment providers. But he remained optimistic that Alipay would be able to cross those regulatory hurdles.
Alipay is already in Hong Kong. In November last year, the Alipay card was introduced by Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com  Alibaba's two internet retail subsidiaries, in a venture with convenience store giant 7-Eleven. The Alipay card allows local consumers who opt not to pay with their credit cards to conveniently top up their Alipay accounts, which are used for shopping online.
On the mainland, Alipay is the preferred method of payment for online shoppers. Data from Alibaba showed that the daily transaction value generated over Alipay is more than 20 billion yuan (HK$25.4 billion) and that nearly 25,000 Alipay mobile transactions happen every minute.
Internet consultancy iResearch said Alipay cornered 49.2 per cent of the 3.7 trillion yuan mainland third-party online payments market last year. Hong Kong-listed Tencent's Tenpay was the second-largest player with a 20 per cent market share.