Safaricom secures deal with Chinese group Alibaba

A phone showing an M-Pesa transaction

Kenya’s Safaricom has secured a deal to use its M-Pesa payment service for online shopping on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

This deal will allow Kenyan shoppers to buy goods on using the mobile payment service in a matter of weeks in a move aimed to expand Alibaba’s product beyond Kenya.

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba that runs the portal’s payment services, will offer M-Pesa as one of the payment options with transactions denominated in Kenyan shillings. M-Pesa users will therefore be able to shop the site without a credit card.

It has been more than a decade since the mobile payment service, M-Pesa, was launched to offer Kenyans without bank accounts to transfer money via mobile phones. The service has now grown to offer a range of payment services, loans and savings to more than 21 million people in Kenya.

“The move especially targets micro-traders in the country who source goods and other supplies from manufacturers in China,” Safaricom said in a statement.