China-based marketplace AliExpress has integrated M-Pesa as a payment option on its site for shoppers ordering from Kenya. Owned by local telecoms company SafariCom, M-Pesa is the largest mobile money service in the world and the dominant transaction channel in Kenya. About 50 percent of account holders in the country use M-Pesa.

Many African shoppers prefer to use foreign sites, which they deem as more trustworthy. Foreign sites also give them access to more category choices. It’s therefore not surprising that AliExpress wants to make payments easier for its shoppers on the continent.

The marketplace currently accounts for 46 percent of Kenya’s total international online purchases. It competes with EBay and Amazon.

M-Pesa is already available for African AliExpress app users. It will be available on the website in the coming weeks. Kenyans who use the payment service will see their total cost displayed in Kenyan Shillings. AliExpress does the same for Nigerian shoppers, but there’s no local payment gateway available in the country yet. 

The M-Pesa agreement was facilitated by Alibaba‘s Ant Financial and will give the marketplace access to Kenya’s 21 Million M-Pesa users and many more micro-traders.

This move to expand into the Kenyan market aligns with Ants Financial’s international expansion strategy which was launched back in 2017 when it closed a $3.5 billion debt round.

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