McDonald’s to accept mobile payments in China

McDonald’s has partnered with Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services subsidiary, to allow its Chinese customers to pay for food at the company’s 2,100 branches using mobile phones.

The restaurant chain will use Ant Financial’s Alipay QR code technology. Alipay is the online payment platform that has over 300 million users.

The first restaurants to allow customer to pay with their mobiles will be in Shanghai, and the company expects to complete a nationwide rollout by March next year.

McDonald’s is also working with Alipay on “data technologies” that could help it learn more about its customer base, businesses and larger ecosystem.

“It will take customers only two seconds to pay their meals at McDonald’s after introducing Alipay to its outlets by scanning the QR code in users’ Alipay. It will be more convenient and efficient for both customers and cashiers,” Ant Financial said in a statement.

McDonald’s is not the first fast-food chain to work with Alipay on mobile payments. Back in June, KFC China teamed up with Alibaba’s payments division to allow Chinese customers to pay for the fast-food in an estimated 5000 KFC outlets across the country.

Over in America, Burger King integrated MasterCard’s digital wallet MasterPass, which allowed its customers to pay for their food on their smartphones.

The timing of Alipay’s partnership with McDonald’s is very interesting given the other big news to come out of Alibaba. Yesterday, the company announced it made a strategic investment in Paytm, India’s largest mobile payment and commerce platform. The investment was estimated to be $680m with Alibaba acquiring a 20 per cent stake in the company, meaning the company in total owns 40 per cent of the company.

It  looks like we could see Alibaba-backed relationships forming between restaurants and payment platforms outside of China, maybe even with McDonald’s looking to expand its mobile payment services to India.

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