Need someone to walk your cat? Alipay “Everywhere” can help.

Written by Felix Yang || 18 Oct 2016

Alipay, the most popular mobile payment app in China, has launched a brand new feature at the end of September called “Everywhere”. This new function can help Alipay users to find people nearby who may provide certain services you want. So if you need a plumber, you can use "Everywhere" to find one near you. 

grumpycatThe platform has already gained a lot of attention. The original idea can be traced back to April Fool’s Day 2015. Everyone thought it was only a joke when Alipay published a video about a system called “Alipay Everywhere”. The system was designed to satisfy every kind of needs from borrowing toilet paper to finding a place to charge dying batteries.

Now it is not a joke anymore as Everywhere is now a part of the Alipay app. Shanghai is the first available city and it will start in more areas in China soon.  

Generally speaking, Everywhere is an Online to Offline (O2O) platform based on location based services (LBS). The two main functions are “Service Required” and “Lend a Hand”. As the names imply, users can ask strangers nearby for help as well as lend your hand to people in need. When you both agree to a service fee, there will be a deal.

For example, if your phone is running out of power, you can sign on Everywhere and ask for help. The system then will check if there is anyone providing a “charge mobile” service. On the other side, if you own a powerbank and provide charge service, the system would show your location on Everywhere’s map and help others in need to find you.

This idea can help people with everyday needs and may create a great market for users to trade services. It is happening everywhere around us: when you do not want to queue for a restaurant, when you need a gym partner, when you need to rent a place, and even when you need to borrow money, you can always ask Everywhere. So one day, if you forgot bringing toilet paper with you (this is actually a problem in China), you will appreciate Everywhere’s help of finding someone nearby who can lend you a hand - let’s just hope he's not a greedy merchant. In addition, Alipay leverages its Sesame Credit platform to help identify reliable and trustworthy providers.

The development of Everywhere shows Alipay's ambition and efforts to challenge Tencent, who, with its QQ/Wechat apps, dominates the social market in China. Backed by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Alipay is trying to compete in the social group once again. However, Everywhere is not under the same model as Wechat, the most popular social app in China. Wechat is designed to connect individuals with their families and friends, people who they are familiar with. On the other hand, Everywhere creates a new ecosystem connecting strangers and encourage the business deals among them.

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