Alipay Launches New Payment Product Fabei to B-end Merchants
COVID-19 and China
Fabei is a payment product for merchants free of charge. Photo: Credit to Unsplash website

On May 7, 2019, Alipay (支付宝) has launched a new product called Fabei (发呗) on its website. Fabei is a free bulk payment service that the merchants who cooperated with Alipay can use Fabei to distribute payroll, benefits, commissions, reimbursement to its employees and temporary workers free of charge. When search “发呗” on the Alipay front page, this new B-end product can be found. It is opened to selected merchants for the moment.

By entering in the Fabei interface, companies can build different employees roasters by selecting employees in the friend list and adding to the roaster. Then companies can distribute payroll at the different amount to each member in the roaster and edit the payroll amount if needed.

Given the huge C-end user base (almost 700 million users in China and 1 billion users worldwide), Ant Financial (蚂蚁金服) is continuously launching new attempts in the B-end businesses to expand this accumulated users premium.

Only one month earlier, Alipay launched the second generation of Dragonfly (蜻蜓), the facial-recognition payment device that is more accessible to merchants and customers based on offline consumption scenarios. It is essentially a plug-and-play device that uses facial-recognition technology to realize a more safe and efficient way of mobile payment. The second generation of Dragonfly priced at 1999, is 30% cheaper than the first generation and the size of the display screen shrinks from 10 inches to 8 inches, the device thickness decrease 75% and weight decreases 55%. These series of updates aim to attract more small merchants within its ecosystem and also show how Alipay value its payment market share in the B-end.

In the current payment market, the three key players Alipay, Tenpay, and UnionPay have all turn its business strategy from C-end to B-end, one reason mention above is the huge user base that generates great traffic. The bond between users and payment companies need to be strengthened and transferred to more applicable scenarios, the other reason is that mobile payment still accounts for the main source of each payment companies’ income, however, it is in a close to saturated market status.

There are altogether 70 million enterprises in China, of which 50 million are individual or small merchants. They all have a relatively huge amount of transaction and payment need with a market size of more than hundreds of billions in CNY. More than 60% of the B-end business is concentrated in the top four players. From the perspective of the top four companies in terms of market share, there are many areas that provide payment solutions, mainly in the fields of travel, cross-border payment, and overseas education.

However, the huge transaction size and the diversified transaction scenarios require a large enough space in the vertical industry. What's more, without the deep connection with the C-end consumers, their market share can be easily snatched by those mobile payment giants. Just like the Alipay attracted C-end users from Lakala years ago, Alipay and its counterparties are already gazing and taking action on the new round of the payment competition.

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