Alipay, Alibaba Group's third-party online payment platform, told the Global Times Sunday that without its fast-payment system, most domestic online banking payment systems could not have withstood the volume of online sales promotions on Singles' Day (November 11), which witnessed 105.8 million yuan ($17 million) in deals made via Alipay.
During the one-day sales promotions for Singles' Day, 45.8 percent of shoppers on Tmall, Alibaba Group's online shopping site, chose to pay through fast payment, a staff member from Alipay's public relations department told the Global Times Sunday on condition of anonymity.
Since the end of 2010, Alipay has signed contracts with some 150 banks in China and abroad to jointly develop a system enabling online shoppers to pay rapidly via alipay.com after linking their bank accounts to their Alipay accounts, he said.
The fast-payment system is just a supplement, not a threat, to online payment through banks, given that the latter offers people more services like purchasing government bonds online, while the former exists mainly to facilitate online shopping, said Alipay.
Traditional B2C e-commerce payments in China have to be completed via online banking systems, a move that protects shoppers' bank accounts but slows down payment speeds, redirecting shoppers to the banking systems when they click the pay button on alipay.com.
The Singles' Day online sales push let more people know about Alipay's fast-payment system, which many consumers turned to when banking systems were overwhelmed by the payment peak, the staff member from Alipay said.
During the promotions, the online payment system of China Construction Bank (CCB) broke down several times and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)'s online banking system could not be accessed, China Business Journal reported Sunday, citing Alipay.
Neither CCB nor ABC could be reached by press time.
However, many people still prefer the online banking payment system due to security concerns.
"I have gotten used to online banking, so I would not try Alipay's fast payment. Besides, some people have warned against linking bank accounts to Alipay accounts, as their bank accounts were easily robbed after the link was made," a Shenyang resident surnamed Zhang told the Global Times Sunday.
Bankers are not responsible for the security of transactions through fast payment, but Alipay will compensate consumers' losses within three days, said the Alipay employee.
Besides Alipay, many other third-party online payment operators have also developed fast-payment systems, such as the one China UnionPay Co launched in May 2011.
"The fast-payment system will be the trend in the development of online payment, especially for small transactions, while for the amounts worth more than 500 yuan ($80.20), online banking systems will be used due to security concerns," said Zhang Meng, an industry analyst from Analysys International.