Alipay pays attention to mobile users
Alipay, the country's largest third-party payments company, will waive newly introduced commissions for transactions conducted via mobile platforms, in a bid to get more of its users on its mobile application.
Alipay, a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, will start levying a fee of 0.1 percent of the total value of transactions, according to a recent company announcement.
That translates into commission fees starting at 0.5 yuan (8 cents) per transaction and up to a maximum fee of 10 yuan. Previously, transactions with a value below 10,000 yuan were exempted from such fees.
However, commissions will be waived for credit card payments, inter-bank transactions and payments of utility bills, if those transactions are conducted via mobile devices.
"We will maintain free-of-charge services if users choose to go with Alipay's mobile app," Alipay said.
The move, along with a series of other recent endeavors, underscores the need for Alibaba to stay agile in the mobile e-commerce age, as some of its rivals on the mobile front are eroding its huge client base.
The company has recently launched Alipay Wallet, a mobile version of Alipay, as a standalone brand under the newly established Zhejiang Alibaba E-Commerce Co Ltd, which handles the financial businesses under the Alibaba empire.
It's also trying to get online merchants selling their products on Taobao.com marketplaces to switch from their desktop PCs to mobile phones, by investing 500 million yuan to develop a mobile services platform and distribute smartphones to lure electronic retailers, Alibaba said on its website.
In another push to expand its user base, in September, Alibaba launched Laiwang - a mobile chat app similar to Tencent Holding Ltd's WeChat - which gained traction quickly and gave it a boost on the mobile Internet sector.
The number of Laiwang's registered users has surpassed the 10-million mark, Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba, said in a briefing in November, adding that the company is targeting an increase to 100 million by the middle of next year.
The move is critical to "funnel young and tech-savvy users to Alibaba's mobile ecosystem", which will serve as the access point for e-commerce services and to a stable stream of revenue, said Alibaba's Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Lu at the same event.