The partnership allows Alipay users — and there are over 500 million registered in China — to make payment through the service when they use Yelp for restaurant bookings. The launch initially covers restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco, but there are plans to expand more widely across the country.
There are also plans to launch a version of the app that is translated into Mandarin Chinese to help travelers.
This tie-in follows a major expansion from Alipay in the U.S. in May. The Chinese firm teamed up with First Data in a move that brings support for its mobile payment system to point-of-sales systems of more than four million retail partners in the U.S.. That’s a peg that this Yelp deal is hanging on, since the integration will only work for Yelp restaurant partners that accept Alipay.
Alipay also massively increased its potential with global retailers looking to reach Chinese consumers online when Stripe added support for its service earlier this summer. Stripe also added rival WeChat Pay from Tencent to its roster.
Together Alipay and WeChat Pay control over 90 percent of the mobile payment market in China. Increasingly they are casting their nets overseas to follow Chinese tourist spending which is predicted to grow significantly.
A recent report co-authored by Visa estimates that Chinese travelers’ overseas spending came in at $137 billion in 2015. That figure is forecast to increase by 87 percent over the next decade, taking China’s spending to double that of the U.S., and more than the UK, Russia and Germany combined.