In a move to open the e-commerce market between Taiwan and China, Taipei-based E. Sun Commercial Bank Ltd. has entered into a partnership with Alipay Inc., China’s leading online payment service provider.

Under the partnership announced March 14, Alipay will help settle payments between Taiwan’s product and service providers and Chinese consumers.

E. Sun is committed to providing small and midsize enterprises in Taiwan more complete and innovative financial services, a spokesperson for the bank tells PaymentsSource. “This cross-strait payment service would allow Taiwan's small and business enterprises to extend their business tentacles to the mainland,” she says, noting the agreement is in line with Taiwan’s government policy to enhance visibility of goods made in Taiwan and Mainland China.

“We aim to facilitate online transactions between Taiwanese firms and their Chinese customers,” she says. “All products and services allowed by both governments may flow through the e-commerce platform.”

However, the bank is limiting the service to one-way sales of Taiwanese goods and services to Chinese buyers, but it may expand to two-way trading if demand develops, she adds.

Shopping across the straits traditionally has been an issue because of the lack of a currency-settlement mechanism between the New Taiwan dollar and the Chinese yuan, the spokesperson says.

“Previously, those in China would order Taiwanese goods online, deliver to a local address, and then get it picked up from friends traveling there,” she says.

Alipay commands a 49% share of China’s online-shopping market, with 650 million registered users as of Dec. 31.

Chinese tourists spent NT$50 billion (US$1.69 billion or 1.27 billion euros) during their visits to Taiwan last year, while Chinese consumers spent NT$3.6 trillion on online shopping during the same period, according to Taiwan Tourism data.

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