Mpesa, PayPal and other online payment and money transfer services are set to be given a run for their money as Chinese electronic payment platform Alipay,announced plans to enter the Kenyan market.

Alipay, offered by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, will be launched in the country as an indigenous company with the aim of creating a payment platform for companies operating in the East African region's largest economy.

The announcement was made by Ali Baba Founder Jack Ma last Thursday while giving a public lecture at the University of Nairobi on his first visit to Nairobi.

“Alipay is definitely interested in Kenya because we want to enable every business to trade globally. We would give money to a Kenyan company to start this business, not Alipay. We are here looking for people. We are also talking to payment companies.” said Mr Ma.

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The entry of Alipay will allow Chinese tourists who visit the country to use their mobile phones to complete transactions with a number of merchants and retailers around the country.

The online mobile platform will also enable users to hail a taxi, book hotels, and buy goods and services directly from within its app.

Alipay claims 450 million users worldwide. The lion’s share of that number are located in China, but the service has a growing footprint in Southeast Asia and is particularly popular in markets that are frequented by Chinese tourists because it represents an easier payment method.