SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The share of mobile transactions on Alipay, the online payment platform affiliated with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, jumped to 54 percent of all transactions in the first 10 months of the year from 22 percent during the whole of last year, the company said.
The increase was driven in part by consumers in rural areas and smaller cities adopting mobile devices as their primary tool for online shopping, according to a statement from Ant Financial Services Group, which owns Alipay.
More than 55 percent of all mobile transactions in the year through October, however, still came from first-tier cities and coastal provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu.
The statement did not give details of the actual number or value of transactions during the first 10 months. A spokeswoman said the growth was underpinned by the increasing adoption of mobile devices in China, continuous growth in mobile commerce, relatively low cost of mobile platforms compared to computers and the expansion of Alipay’s services.
Mobile transactions are a huge opportunity for Alibaba. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported in July that during the first half of the year mobile became the primary means for Chinese people to access the Internet, with more people getting online on their phones than on personal computers.
Alipay is China’s largest payment service provider and is controlled by Alibaba’s executive chairman and founder Jack Ma. Significant shareholders include others in Alibaba’s management committee, including CEO Jonathan Lu and chief risk officer Shao Xiaofeng.
As part of an August agreement between Alibaba and Ant Financial, Alibaba shares 37.5 percent of the unit’s profit or can in the future take a direct stake in it. ($1 = 6.1586 yuan)
Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Miral Fahmy