The deal will "put Alipay in the same league as Apple Pay in terms of acceptance", according to Bloomberg. Apple Inc.'s mobile payments service can be used at 4.5 million locations in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said last week on a call with analysts.
In China, and its ever-expanding market, Alipay and rivals WeChat dominate the mobile payments market. Now that it has, it will be interesting to see what steps Alipay takes in the coming years to establish itself as a recognized player in the mobile payments market.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment. Specifically, the rollout will start with First Data clients using the company's Clover suite of solutions. It has inked a deal with First Data that will allow users to pay for products and services at four million retailers.
"Our goal is to extend reliable payment services to the over four million Chinese consumers who visit North America every year", said Souheil Badran, the president at Alipay North America. This could be a move to get AliPay's foot in the door to later open its service up to U.S. consumers.
According to Ant Financial Services Group, Chinese tourists to the USA are projected to spend $40 billion in 2017.
Alipay transactions will be routed through Acculynk, the routing technology provider First Data acquired in March. And China UnionPay is working with USA payment networks to develop global standards for mobile payments.
Before entering the deal, the company tested Alipay in a partnership with luxury stores in California and NY at the end of 2016.
"If I am a Chinese consumer coming to the USA, I'll pay with a QR code, no differently than how I would pay at a retailer in China", said Badran of his company's partnership with First Data Corp.
However, that seems like a limiting strategy, and this effort, regardless of stated objectives, gives Alipay an initial foothold in the US and North America. "You can look at it as a global thing".