Baidu teams up with PayPal to take its Chinese mobile wallet global

PayPal has continued its strategy of expanding its presence on mobile after it revealed a tie-up with Baidu. The arrangement will allow the Chinese firm’s 100 million mobile wallet users to make payments to PayPal’s 17 million merchants through the Baidu service.

The news is the latest in a series of recent partnerships from PayPal, which this month expanded its integration with Apple and become a payment option with Samsung Pay. PayPal also inked extended agreements with Citi and Chase, added instant bank transfers, and made it easier for its merchants to sell worldwide.

“Important strategic partnerships are broadening the relevance of PayPal’s platform and increasing PayPal’s addressable market,” the firm said in a filing for its latest financial results.

For Baidu, the move represents a quick fire way to increase the competition with China’s leading mobile wallet companies, Alibaba’s Alipay (500 million users) and Tencent’s WeChat Pay (600 million users).

Those two services account for more than 90 percent of China’s mobile wallet market. They are estimated to have processed close to $3 trillion cumulatively in 2016, according to a UN report, which put Alipay slightly ahead of $1.7 trillion compared to $1.2 trillion for WeChat Pay. Baidu Wallet was not included in the study.

Both Alibaba and Tencent recently teamed up with Stripe to expand the use of their payment mechanisms outside of China, and this PayPal deal looks to be Baidu’s retort.

Alipay has also been extended to retail outlets in the U.S. via a partnership with point-of-sale firm First Data.