Stripe, a US-based payment firm that supports Bitcoin payments, has struck a deal with WeChat and Alipay that could help merchants in America gain easier access to Chinese customers.
Bridging the Gap Between the Chinese Market and the West
Stripe’s partnership with Alipay and WeChat is significant because of the access it affords to the company, which gives them a chance to reach out to hundreds of millions of customers.
Businesses that use Stripe can now let their customers pay with WeChat or Alipay, according to Stripe.
The two firms dominate the mobile-payments market in China, holding a combined 90 percent share in a country that not too long ago preferred cash payments to anything else.
Now, China is quickly moving towards becoming a cashless society — and mobile payment applications like Alipay are a big reason for that.
Furthermore, Stripe sees the deal helping American merchants move into the Chinese consumer market. CEO John Collison said:
“By deepening our existing partnership with Alipay, we’re enabling businesses around the world to instantly access the once-impenetrable Chinese consumer market.”
Meanwhile, Alibaba and WeChat will likely benefit from the deal by helping them bring in more U.S. businesses, which, in turn, will give their Chinese customers more access to foreign goods.
Bitcoin and the Asian Frontier
The deal could also impact bitcoin adoption. One of the payment services Stripe offers to its enterprise customers is the ability to easily integrate and accept bitcoin payments.
Additionally, WeChat and Alipay’s customer base is primarily located in China — a country home to a significant percentage of global bitcoin trading and mining.
It also benefits American companies that use Stripe as a means of processing online payments as it will increase their exposure to a market that has been historically difficult to tap into.
China, as well as Japan and other Asian countries, has been a hotbed for Bitcoin activity and the governments of these countries have taken notice, even providing a legal framework for it to grow in some cases.
It’s possible that this deal could attract more online merchants, incentivizing more of them to use Stripe. With the right kind of conditions, those companies could begin experimenting with Stripe’s Bitcoin payment option as they tap into this newfound market.
What do you think of Stripe’s deal with Alipay and WeChat? Let us know.
Images via Joey Zervoulakos, Stripe, and Alipay