At our recent Collide Conference, Michael Zhao, Director of Paypal China talked about helping people make transactions over the cloud. I asked him specifically about their new aptly named product, X.com which allows developers to define how payments are made.

Of course when we normally think about transactions, it is usually the receiver who asks for money. But Paypal’s X.com initiative aims to make it more open and fledible by allowing developers and merchants to use the library of APIs and SDKs.

Here are some interesting use cases:

  • Senders can make payments to receivers, rather than just the receiver asking for the money – useful for when you need to pay someone but you don’t want to use cash or credit card
  • Chained payments allow money to go from person A to B to C – useful for when you need to pay people in a supply chain
  • Split payments allow you to split a bill between multiple people, handy for those large restaurant dinners or  shared rent

Some examples from their websites show companies like ODesk, a marketplace for freelancers using X.com for crowd-sourcing and disbursements; Indigogo, a platform for fundraising for ideas and projects using it for fundraising and charitable donations and Wooga, a Facebook game developer to sell digital goods.

Although not as popular in China as Alipay, due to their international strength in supporting 191 countries and 24 currencies, “Paypal is focusing on cross-border transactions, especially for Chinese companies to export their goods and software outside China and more recently businesses to import into China” Says Michael.

X.com also supports mobile payments in Android and iOS.