Ten years ago today Alibaba founded Alipay, an online payment and escrow service, to address Chinese consumers’ concerns about online shopping, 19 months after the establishment of Alibaba’s Taobao online marketplace. Now Alipay the payment service is just one of many internet-based financial services under the Ant Financial Services Group.

Alipay escrow service withholds a payment until either the consumer confirms receipt of the goods ordered on Taobao or until ten days after shipment of physical goods, if the consumer doesn’t want the bother of personal confirmation. (Normally any parcel from any corner in China will be delivered within ten days).

As well as transactions on Alibaba’s online marketplaces, Alipay also powers third-party services. Payments processed on Alibaba’s retail marketplaces for the domestic market (Taobao, Tmall and Juhuasuan), though providing around 80% of Alibaba’s total revenue, only accounted for about 38% of Alipay’s payment volume in 2013. Of course, not every payment on Alibaba’s retail marketplaces were through Alipay –  about 22% of the trade volume in fiscal year 2014 wasn’t settled through Alipay.

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Tracey Xiang

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