VTB brings Alipay to Russia big time
Chinese online and mobile payment platform Alipay is looking to grow its presence significantly in Russia with the help of VTB Group.
VTB, one of Russia’s largest banks, has recently started merchant acquiring for Alipay payments service in its 120,000+ POS-device network. Alipay says this makes VTB its biggest partner in the country.
Following this pilot programme, the service will be launched on a broader scale later this month. The roll-out across the entire VTB network of around 100,000 merchants will take pace in Q3-Q4 this year.
Alipay anticipates that “more than one million Chinese travellers will benefit from the new partnership every year”.
According to an estimation of VTB24, the bank’s retail banking arm, Alipay will be in high demand in the Russian cities of Moscow, St Petersburg, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Blagoveshchensk and Irkutsk.
VTB24 is one of the largest merchant acquirers in Russia, with its acquiring volume reaching RUB 1 trillion ($16.6 billion) in 2016. Its major retail customers include Russian Railways, supermarket chain Auchan, Yandex Taxi and social network VK.com.
“We see the number of Chinese tourists is increasingly growing,” says Alexey Kirichek, VP, director of merchant acquiring department, VTB24. “Potential volume of this market is approximately RUB 300 billion [$5 billion] per year.
“Average ticket size of Alipay users is two to three times higher than in other payment methods, hence we expect high demand for the new service from merchants.”
Alipay arrived in Russia in April this year – in a limited number of souvenir shops in Moscow and St Petersburg. In July, it announced a partnership with Moscow’s Department of Public Transportation and soon Chinese tourists will be able to use Alipay to buy bus or metro tickets in the capital.
Alipay is the world’s largest online and mobile wallet with more than 520 million active users. Its march to the West continues – with the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Austria and Switzerland among the countries now accepting Alipay. Overall, Alipay says it is accepted in over 30 countries today, with in-store payments covering more than 200,000 retail stores.
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