Alibaba payment arm says it handled $186b in transactions in 2013

BEIJING (REUTERS) - The payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, China's biggest e-commerce company, said on Saturday it completed more mobile payment transactions in 2013 than United States-based PayPal and Square combined.

Last year, more than 100 million users completed over 2.78 billion mobile transactions with a total value topping 900 billion yuan (S$186.74 billion), according to a posting on Alipay's Weibo microblogging account.

In China, mobile transactions are becoming increasingly popular as more consumers use devices to buy everything from movie tickets to clothing.

Mobile payments also are driving the growth of e-commerce in Europe and the US. At PayPal, a division of Ebay Inc., mobile payment volume nearly doubled to US$27 billion (S$34.2 billion) in 2013, the company said last month.

Alipay said that at the end of last year, it had nearly 300 million real-name users, or nearly one-half of China's 618 million internet users. Alipay users completed 12.5 billion transactions in 2013, the company said.

Alibaba , which controls nearly 80 per cent of China's internet shopping market, is expected to sell shares this year in what could be the biggest initial public offering since Facebook's 2012 float. Alibaba's value has been estimated between US$115 billion and US$200 billion.