Alipay Targets Rural E-Commerce Prospects 

Jan. 3, 2013, the most popular online payment method in China, is striking out from the major cities to capture more users in rural areas of China, according to published reports. The subsidiary of Alibaba Group said it has launched a rural business unit that will focus its efforts to reach rural e-commerce users in two directions. Alipay will work through banks and telecoms to educate rural consumers about the convenience of Internet payment and will seek to extend the scope and quality of financial services available to this segment of Chinese consumers.

The new unit is the first effort by a third-party payment company in China to focus specifically on rural areas, which are growing as an economic force in the region. Spending growth rates in “third- and fourth-tier markets” reached 60 percent in 2012, according to the reports, far outpacing growth in the bigger cities.