China’s Alibaba, one of the world’s largest e-commerce company valued at $256 bln and its $60 bln financial arm Alipay are recruiting Blockchain experts to actively look into the potential of Blockchain technology.
Over the past few months, Cointelegraph offered active coverage on the Chinese fintech and Blockchain markets. Earlier in January, Cointelegraph reported Alipay’s first announcement on their involvement within the global Blockchain industry.
On Jan. 22, the Alipay parent company and Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing stated:
"We have the ambition to be a global company. So my vision is that we want to serve two bln people in the next 10 years by using technology, by working together with partners … to serve those underserved."
Jing further emphasized the likelihood of Alipay, its main fintech platform and payment network, embracing Blockchain technology in the future. He noted that for Alipay to serve two bln users within the next 10 years, a technology like the Blockchain which can automate transactions in a secure, transparent and efficient network is needed.
The vision of Alipay targeting a two bln user base is ambitious but very much possible. Already, Alipay has over 450 mln active users within China, which puts their market share of the entire mobile payment market at a staggering 69.9 percent.
To better understand the presence of Alipay within the Chinese mobile payments and financial industries, it is important to consider the statements of local Chinese companies and financial firms describing the impact of Alipay on the traditional financial market.
Previously, Cointelegraph reported that Johan Nylander, a journalist at Asia Times and Shenzhen Starbucks Cafe Manager Lily Li, revealed the vast majority of transactions at local stores such as Starbucks are being settled with Alipay. People present their mobile phones to initiate a near-field communication (NFC) payment with Alipay, instead of credit cards and cash.
Mo Fei Chen, founder and CEO of Money Bazaar, said:
“I can hardly remember the last time I used my wallet. Few foreigners realize how fast and advanced the development actually is in new payment features and mobile financial services in China.”
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently told Bloomberg that the Chinese market is seeing the opening of one Starbucks branch per day, adding thousands of chains over the last few years. A large part of the successful growth of Starbucks has been the ease of payment, enabled by Alipay and Ant Financial.
Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing understands and recognizes the impact Alipay is having outside the realm of traditional finance. It is affecting many multi-trillion dollar industries including the foods and beverages markets, assisting the growth of key players like Starbucks within the Chinese market.
Therefore, Jing believes it is the right time to look into the development of open, public, transparent and secure Blockchain system which could build a more efficient base protocol for Alipay to operate on. Instead of having a centralized and manually processed database of transactions, the Alipay team believes that a financial network underpinned by Blockchain technology could be more practical for a global user base.
Java Blockchain engineers needed
Already, Ant Financial and Alipay are recruiting Java Blockchain engineers and Blockchain experts. Engineers to code Blockchain platforms for commercial user and experts to oversee the efficiency of Blockchain platforms built by Ant Financial.
Considering that Jing and the rest of the Ant Financial have emphasized the importance of Blockchain technology for the long-term growth of the company, it is likely that the Chinese firm will allocate a significant part of its resources and talents to the development and testing of Blockchain technology in the near future.