23 January 2019
Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma says any partnership with Apple should be a “marriage” that both sides want. Photo: Reuters
Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma says any partnership with Apple should be a “marriage” that both sides want. Photo: Reuters

Alibaba eyes payment partnership With Apple

Alibaba Group Holding chairman Jack Ma says his company is interested in partnering with Apple Inc in financial payments.

“I hope we can do something together,” he said, but it should be a “marriage” that both sides want, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. 

Alibaba, which recently raised US$25 billion in the world’s biggest initial public offering in the United States, is already a giant in payments.

Its PayPal-like payment service, Alipay, has 300 million active users, Ma said during an interview at the WSJD Live global technology conference in California on Monday night.

Apple jumped into payments this month with the launch of Apple Pay, a service that helps users of the latest iPhones pay for purchases in stores or in mobile apps.

Later at the same conference, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said he is going to meet with Ma this week to discuss potential partnerships.

Cook said Alibaba has all the traits of a company that Apple would like to partner with, though he did not specify whether Apple will work with Alibaba in payments.

Ma also said that while he’s in California, he is looking into partnerships in the movie business.

“China will be the largest movie market in the world,” he predicted.

Since its IPO in September, Alibaba shares have risen 44 percent and the company has a market capitalization of more than US$240 billion, making it larger than Amazon and eBay combined.

Asked whether Alibaba would be interested in buying PayPal after it splits from parent eBay Inc, Ma said: “I have my Alipay.”

Alibaba transacted nearly US$300 billion in gross merchandise value in the 12 months to June on its Chinese retail marketplaces like Taobao and Tmall.

Ma also said that he sees “great opportunities in e-commerce in the US”. In June, Alibaba launched a US shopping website, 11 Main.

But there is room for more competition beyond the big US e-commerce giants, Ma said.

“Amazon, eBay. You need more.”

Ma also spoke about how he hopes Alibaba will continue to disrupt the Chinese financial system, after Alipay’s money-market fund received slightly under US$100 billion in deposits after its launch in June.

“If banks do not change, let’s change the banks,” he said, noting Alipay is the third-largest payment service in the world after Visa and MasterCard.

He said Alibaba wants to build a credit system for individuals and small businesses and “radically” change the Chinese financial system.

– contact us at [email protected]


EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe