In this episode of our series on financial technology, we sat down with Souheil Badran, president of Alipay North America. Alipay is the payments spinoff of China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba and is now part of Ant Financial, the largest fintech company in the world.
Some of the key takeaways from our conversation with Souheil include:
- China’s mobile payment platforms have become “lifestyle apps.” Chinese consumers use their phones to make payments for everything from taxis and movie tickets to insurance and mutual funds.
- Every year, Chinese tourists take 130 million trips outside of China. Chinese mobile payment firms are expanding internationally in order to service these customers when they are travelling abroad.
- The rapid growth of mobile payments in China was driven by the lack of payments infrastructure for credit and debit cards. Chinese fintech companies offered merchants a cheaper solution through the use of QR codes.
- Data from payments activity has allowed Chinese fintech companies to create their own credit scores for users and make small loans to them.
- The same types of fintech services are available in both China and the U.S., but the Chinese market is different because these services are all available on a single “platform” rather than distributed across multiple different apps.