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Stripe Partners with Alipay and WeChat as Singapore Start-ups Tap the Chinese Market

The company announced that businesses using Stripe can now accept payments from China’s leading digital payments platforms

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BY Tanya Mariano - 18 Jul 2017

Stripe headquarters in San Francisco

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Company

These days, anyone who wants to go big can’t afford to overlook China and its billion-strong consumer market. Many businesses outside the country, however, have a hard time accessing this market because they can't process the preferred payment methods of many Chinese consumers.

Stripe, an online payments enabler based in San Francisco with operations in 25 countries including Singapore, Japan and, most recently, Hong Kong, wants to make it easier for businesses to tap this high-potential market.

The company recently announced that it is partnering with Alipay and WeChat Pay, the leaders in mobile payments in China, to allow clients to begin accepting payments made through these platforms.

What this means for Southeast Asia is that companies in Singapore (and, in the near future, other countries in the region) can now begin to accept payments from Chinese consumers who use and prefer these payment methods.

The two digital wallets—Alipay is operated by Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba affiliate, and WeChat Pay is a payment feature integrated into the popular WeChat app—have a combined market share of 90% of the country’s $5.5 trillion mobile payments market, says Piruze Sabuncu, head of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong at Stripe.

“Growing consumer demand in China for overseas products and services presents a vast untapped opportunity for businesses around the world,” she tells Inc. Southeast Asia. “In fact, Chinese consumers are expected to spend more than $150 billion on foreign goods by 2020… As mobile commerce accounts for 71% of Chinese e-commerce, being able to activate both payment methods in just a few clicks will make it easier for Internet businesses of all sizes to access the world’s largest consumer market.”

In Southeast Asia, Stripe is so far only available in Singapore, but Sabuncu says the company is “actively looking” at a number of other markets in the region.

The company understands that in order to succeed in this diverse and fragmented corner of the world, localization is key.

Says Stripe co-founder John Collison at a talk at the recently concluded RISE conference in Hong Kong, “Payments is very local and cultural, and our products have to change as we build in this region.”

Sabuncu echoes this: “Some markets have adapted to mobile payments faster than others, and some have leapfrogged credit cards entirely. This is why, before entering any new region, we take our time to get to know the market and understand the unique needs and pain points of developers and local businesses.”

Sabuncu believes the future of mobile payments is bright in Asia.

“Asia is mobile-first and we’re already seeing a proliferation of digital payment methods and hybrids that enable people to convert cash into mobile money or e-wallets like Alipay and WeChat Pay.”

She adds, “As commerce shifts online and mobile transforms every industry, new business models will gobble up spending that traditionally took place offline. We’re already seeing this with the explosion of businesses like Grab, Deliveroo, Grain, and Tribecar—business models that have simple, cashless payment experiences at their core.”

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