What's different this year is that singles day is now a global event, or at least Alibaba is trying to make it one. Last week, a promotion about Double Eleven started in Hong Kong, one of the most important markets for Alibaba outside mainland China. At the same time, Alipay announced its improved payment services globally. It has covered more than 200 countries and areas through 18 currencies. There are more than 40 million overseas Alipay merchants overseas now including famous stores like Macy’s and Harrods. To reduce its reliance to mainland China market, the expanded service areas will certainly increase the sales outside China and push Alibaba’s internationalization.
There is another development that Alipay allows customers to shop online without a bank card. The Chinese government issued tight restrictions for third payment accounts without ID identification recently. However, bank account does not actually need to be combined with payment account. Although it is one way to identify user’s ID, there are other methods such as the combination with mobile phones, utility bills, and social security cards. The differences would be certain services, such as wealth management, borrowing cash, or insurance, are only available to Alipay accounts combined with banks details.
In the past, almost all of international payments were based on bank cards. Many customers do not have access to banks or they were rejected by banks. By allowing non-bank payments, Alipay encourages more customers to do shopping online, as well as sell products. It will push more sales for the upcoming Double Eleven festival and help more customers to enjoy the services.