Alipay the digital payments arm of Chinese tech giant Alibaba has been granted its first European e-payments licence by the government of Luxembourg.
Confirmed this week, by Pierre GramegnaLuxembourg’s Minister of Finance, Alibaba has been approved the right to service European e-payments, with the company moving to officially register its new European business entity ‘Alipay-Europe SA’.
The fastest growing division of Chinese multinational digital retail conglomerate Alibaba Group, Alipay is firmly established as China’s biggest mobile payment platform, with a reported 620 million users, handling over half of the nation’s $15.5 trillion digital transactions recorded during 2017.
Dominating mobile integrations through Chinese telecom carriers, in 2015 Alibaba proudly declared that Alipay had ‘surpassed US giants PayPal and Square combined’ in monthly transactional volume.
Reaching peak saturation within China, Alibaba has made no secret of moving to launch Alipay services within new European markets, as a core growth directive.
Featured in an interview with Forbes Business last July, Alibaba Group UK & Nordics Managing Director David Lloyd disclosed that the e-payments platform was scouting fresh partnerships with European highstreet retailers, for the initial purpose of facilitating transactions with Chinese tourists.
Despite its immense growth, in recent years Alipay has been marred by a number of controversies relating to illegal data collections, user data storage, predatory T&Cs, with Alibaba executives unable to clarify or explain the scandals to media and regulatory bodies.
EU regulatory stakeholders will be keeping a close eye on Alipay movements, in a critical year for the European-wide payments and financial sector which will enforce its full PSD2 mandate.
In 2019, PSD2 seeks to create a more transparent and open banking services sector, helping new innovation-led incumbents who in turn will be forced to adhere to stricter consumer data protocol a