Alipay and WeChat Pay expand global reach through partnership with Stripe

The partnership agreement gives the Chinese digital wallets access to Stripe's merchant base in more than 25 countries.

Stripe has announced partnerships with digital wallets Alipay and WeChat Pay that will enable its merchant base to accept payments from Chinese consumers in Hong Kong.

The Silicon Valley-based payments technology company said the partnership will allow its merchants to tap the Chinese consumer market, which currently leads the world in mobile payments after dethroning the US in 2016 with a transaction volume of 38 trillion yuan ($5.5 trillion), according to Chinese market research group iResearch.

In comparison, analyst firm Forrester estimated mobile transactions in the US to have reached $112 billion in 2016, less than a third of China.

Online sales also surged 26.2 percent in China to 5.2 trillion yuan in 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The new partnership, which coincides with Stripe's official launch in Hong Kong after a year of testing, allows Alipay and WeChat Pay to expand its global reach beyond China, where they collectively control 92 percent of the market.

One-time payments through Alipay and WeChat Pay is immediately available in the country, and recurrent payments through Alipay is currently being tested for subscription-type transactions.

Stripe said it will allow its users in Hong Kong to get paid in USD without losing money through conversion fees.

The payments technology company claims to have signed up "two-thirds of venture-backed startups" in Hong Kong as customers, including fashion marketplaces Grana and HBX, travel agency Klook, and mobile phone rental business for international travellers Tink Labs.

Alipay, which is operated by Alibaba's financial services arm Ant Financial, has more than 520 million daily users globally, while Tencent's WeChat Pay has more than 600 million users.

While both payment services have limited track record outside of China, they have been gradually expanding through partnerships with local entities to enable mobile payments for Chinese tourists.

Hong Kong is Stripe's third Asian market, having previously been launched in Japan and Singapore.

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