Chinese buyers can now shop directly online from the biggest department stores in the U.S., as Alipay’s ‘foreign direct purchase’ ePass service goes live for the holiday season. Participating stores including Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Sak’s Fifth Avenue will join Ann Taylor and Aeropostale as the first major overseas brands to sign on with Alipay. The stores will now be open to any shopper who has an account with Chinese marketplace giant Taobao.

Shopping for overseas products has been historically difficult for Chinese consumers, who face barriers using credit cards online. In contrast, Alipay has had massive adoption rates, with over 800 million accounts accounting for almost 80% of online transactions within China.

“We hope to reconstruct the experience of shopping abroad,“ said Peng Yijie, Vice President of Ant Financial’s international business division. Peng believes that the move to connect directly with U.S. department stores will help fix a ‘disjointed’ system that often requires Chinese consumers to use a middleman agency when buying from abroad.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com