By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce group, is entering into the competitive world of mobile payments. The retailing group is known for their website Alibaba.com, which carries multiple options for wholesale merchandise. The company provides millions of buyers with products in consumer categories including Auto, Electronics, Health and Beauty, and more. The company announced on their blog that they would soon be using biometric technology for mobile payments. After partnering with Chinese technology company Huawei, Alibaba added the fingerprint recognizing option into their Alipay Wallet mobile app. Alipay Wallet is currently available for Android phones, and the biometric technology will be incorporated first into Huawei's new Mate 7 smartphone. It's expected that more smartphones will use the feature as well.
It was a big week for Alibaba. The company's initial public offering raised a record $25 billion. Meanwhile, a recent survey by the Hurun Report named Alibaba founder Jack Ma as China's wealthiest person. Ma told CNN that the company was aiming directly for Walmart. "We want to be bigger than Walmart," he said. Alibaba predicted that they could surpass Walmart as the world's largest retailer by 2016. The company hopes that becoming the most recent company to jump into the mobile payment business will help it overtake its new rivals. Alibaba's gross merchandise value is already bigger than Amazon and Walmart combined. The company jumping into the mobile payment business could possibly present a threat to the retailers. Both retailers currently have their own payment apps in the works.
Mobile payment technology has been in the news lately, as more retailers develop their own wallet apps. Apple Pay was the focus of retail news earlier this month, and it seems like almost daily a new retailer announces a mobile payment option. Mobile payments are a rising concern among retailers who are constantly competing against each other in a race to provide convenient shopping options and to compete against shopping giants like Walmart or Amazon. According to Alipay, the amount of money the wireless-payment system received an increase of 546% in 2012 alone when compared to the numbers of 2011. The users increased at a rate of 223% the same year. Alipay currently has over 100 million users.