Uber, China's Alipay expand co-operation to foreign markets

BEIJING, China – Ride-hailing service Uber and the payment service of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group are expanding a partnership to allow Chinese travellers to summon and pay for a car in any country where Uber operates.

The agreement announced Tuesday adds to expanding links between U.S. and Chinese companies in the growing global market for smartphone-based transportation services.

Uber and Alibaba’s Ant Financial said Chinese travellers will be able to use either company’s app to summon a car in 400 cities in 69 countries where Uber operates. They can pay for it in Chinese currency using Ant Financial’s Alipay app.

Uber riders have been able to use Alipay to pay for transportation in mainland China since 2014. That expanded to this year to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.

The two companies said they would expand co-operation in India through Alipay’s links with Paytm, that country’s largest payments provider.

Rival ride-hailing services Didi Kuaidi of China and Lyft of the United States agreed in September to link their apps to allow travellers to use them in each other’s markets.

In December, they expanded the alliance by adding India’s Ola and Southeast Asia’s GrabTaxi.