If you find yourself at a Walmart in China, you’ll be able to make a purchase using your phone, thanks to a new partnership secured by the retail giant. CNET reports that Walmart will start accepting mobile payments through AliPay, a popular financial service affiliated with the online megastore Alibaba.
The new system will be available at 25 Walmart locations throughout Shenzhen, a major Chinese city near Hong Kong. Walmart expects to expand the mobile payment services throughout China, eventually implementing it in over 400 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in the country. It’s an ambitious plan for Walmart, which has struggled to gain a foothold in China.
AliPay is the payments branch of Alibaba—essentially the PayPal to Alibaba’s eBay. It’s one of the most popular mobile payment options in China and works in a similar fashion to an Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Apple sees AliPay as a potential partner in China, where it’s keen to launch Apple Pay. To help pave the way, AliPay recently added the iPhone’s Touch ID sensor to its Wallet app to confirm purchases.
For Walmart, the benefit of partnering with Alibaba is clear: it helps expand the company’s options and revenue streams in a country where it is still trying to break new ground.
For Alibaba, which has focused more on its mobile services in the past year, pairing up with major international companies gives them a link to markets they will want to break into in the future. CEO Daniel Zhang has recently said how important globalization is to growing Alibaba’s brand, and intends to invest heavily in its AliExpress site, where Chinese goods are sold to international customers. Teaming up with Walmart helps it form partnerships which may eventually help it expand internationally in other new areas.