Alipay, the Internet payments service provider of Alibaba Group, announced today it has reached partnership with WiTown, a Chinese business-facing WiFi hotspot solution provider, to offer free products and services to bricks-and-mortar stores to enable Chinese consumers to enjoy free Internet connection over WiFi anywhere.

WiTown provides, by partnering with Chinese carriers such as China Telecom and China Mobile, businesses with a solution with which they are able to push ads to customers, collect and manage data generated from customers, among others. The company also developed a set of APIs for clients to customize their apps. Since 2012, WiTown claimed it had had tens of thousands of clients in some 200 cities across China as of early 2014. That Alipay works with WiTown must have something to do with the fact that the startup was founded by Alibaba alumni.

Alipay has made it clear that the move is for online-to-offline business expansion. Alipay Wallet, the mobile app that not only allows for mobile payments but also provides a variety of mobile services, from loyalty programs to CRM service for businesses, has been actively expanding to the offline business world since last year.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com