Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alibaba Founder and Executive Chair Jack Ma have a discussion during Alibaba's Gateway '17 event in Toronto on Sept. 25. (Image courtesy Alibaba)

Published: September 26th, 2017

TORONTO – Alipay has significantly expanded its Canadian footprint, thanks to a new partnership with SnapPay Inc. that the Chinese online payment platform, related to but separate from Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, announced on Monday.

The partnership, which will allow a greater number of Chinese shoppers to use Chinese currency to purchase items from Canadian online retailers using their mobile wallets, coincided with but was not mentioned at Gateway ’17, a Toronto-based event organized by Alibaba featuring appearances by founder and executive chair Jack Ma, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Toronto Mayor John Tory, among others.

In a Sept. 24 press release shared with ITBusiness.ca, Alipay North America president Souheil Badran said that Alipay pursued the expansion because it wanted to offer Canadian merchants an opportunity to access the Chinese market, noting that 700 Canadian merchants already accept Alipay.

“Chinese consumers want the most accessible and convenient ways to transact when they are shopping desired brands both abroad and online,” Badran said in the release. “By partnering with SnapPay, we are connecting sought-after Canadian retailers and brands with Chinese consumers who want to be able to pay with a familiar payment method.”

In the same release, SnapPay chair Spencer Xu said the company was excited to become AliPay’s official Canadian partner.

“Chinese consumers are an important and growing market in Canada, and by making it possible for them to purchase from Canadian brands and retailers using Alipay, we are eliminating language and payment barriers that can complicate purchasing,” Xu said.

Canadian retailers had previously been able to support Alipay through San Francisco-based online payment platform Stripe, which announced a partnership with Alipay in July. According to Alipay, some 700 Canadian merchants were using the platform prior to Monday’s announcement.

Originally created by Alibaba, Alipay was launched in 2004 and now has more than 520 million active users. Since 2014 it has been owned by Ant Financial Services Group, a company related to but officially separate from Alibaba – hence the expansion not being mentioned during Alibaba’s Sept. 25 event.

Described in the Sept. 24 release as “a leading mobile payment application in Canada,” SnapPay Inc. doesn’t appear to have a web presence: LinkedIn and CrunchBase refer to an online concierge service, and visiting suggested link www.snappay.com brings the user to a GoDaddy landing page.

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