Alipay, the mobile payment arm of Chinese behemoth Alibaba, has been granted an e-money licence in Luxembourg.
Boasting more than a billion users worldwide, Alipay already holds a licence issued by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority.
The new authorisation is a hedge against Britain's exit from the European Union, enabling Alipay to operate across borders in the event of a hard Brexit.
The launch of the new Luxembourg-licensed entity, called Alipay (Europe) Limited S.A., was officially announced by Pierre Gramegna, the Minister of Finance in Luxembourg, in Hong Kong.
“Alipay’s presence is a welcome addition to Luxembourg’s financial ecosystem and will further consolidate its position as a leading European hub for fintech and ecommerce”, Gramegna commented. “It will considerably contribute to the strengthening ties between Europe and China.”
The news comes hard on the heels of the award of a payments licence to Google in Ireland, a move that could see the big tech giant significantly expand its financial services offerings across the European Union.