Well folks, the time has arrived. We’ve been talking about it for what seems like forever, but as of today (March 10th), we are now officially accepting payments for all of our hosting services using Alipay. For those of you who know what Alipay is, you’re probably just as excited as we are. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Alipay, well, keep reading!
Introducing Alipay – What is it?
Alipay is an online payment processor which is used primarily for e-commerce. Think of it this way: Alipays biggest competitor is Paypal. That should give you a rough idea of what Alipay is and how it works. The product was originally launched in 2004 and is owned by the Alibaba Group, a pioneer and titan in the Chinese online marketplace. The Alibaba Group holdings include entities which are publicly traded on the HKSE, a cloud computing division, and China Yahoo!, which is one of the largest Internet portals in China. The company claims it has over 550 million registered users as of 2010, and helps over half a million businesses in China accept and send payments online. Alipay has partnered with over 65 financial institutions worldwide, including Visa and Mastercard. In addition to the international partnerships, they have also partnered with some of the largest consumer banks in all of China to support their massive user base.
Hawk Host and Alipay
Now that you understand a little bit about what Alipay and who is behind them, we’ll take the chance to introduce how our relationship with Alipay benefits our users (and hopefully you’re one of them). If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, Alipay is primarily focused around users in China. Back in early 2008 when things around here really starting getting busy, we noticed a growing portion of our users were from overseas. Over time this trend continued, and the Chinese demographic become one of our largest throughout all of our users. This isn’t terribly surprising, given just how many people live in China (Wikipedia lists a 2011 estimate at over 1.3 billion) and how many of them are online and interested in e-commerce. What did become surprising to us is how many started asking about Alipay. As time went on the requests grew more and more frequent. So we all sat down and said to ourselves maybe this is something worth considering as it does seem very popular amongst these users. Boy, were we in for a surprise.
Fast forward to today. After months and months of research, development, and working very closely with a lot of talented people, we’re finally able to fully support and offer Alipay. We developed a custom module to integrate with our billing system, the Alibaba group has been heavily involved in helping our developers integrate this service, and our own staff have put in countless hours (I’m looking at you, Tony and Cody) ensuring this will work as well as it should. It is safe to say that if it wasn’t for this culmination of hard working and dedicated people we wouldn’t be able to offer Alipay. But hey, we are and we’re pretty excited 🙂
How do I use it?
Just like any other payment method we accept! On step 5 of the order form, there is now a radio button for Alipay. If you’re an existing client, when you go to pay an invoice you will be presented with the option in a dropdown form at the top right page of your invoice. If you want us to change your payment method over to Alipay for all future invoices, just submit a ticket to our billing department. Other than that, using Alipay with Hawk Host will be the same as using it with any other online business you’ve used in the past.
So all said and done this is going to be one of the more exciting announcements of 2011 for us as a company. While we’re by no means done innovating and pushing new products out for the year (Hint: new reseller plans and new services), there is a certain buzz amongst all of our staff about this advancement for the company. Alipay is a massive payment processor in one of the largest markets in the world, and we’re one of the few US based hosts who are offering it. If anyone has any questions at all, or you experience any issues while using Alipay with us, please do not hesitate to contact us via support ticket at https://support.hawkhost.com. Just like any new system, there will most likely be bugs we need to work out that we weren’t able to produce in a controlled environment. We look forward to everyones comments, questions, concerns, and overall feedback. Thanks again to everyone from the Alipay and the handful of users who were involved with the testing and implementation of Alipay.