In case you have been living under a rock (or a pile of paperwork) these last few years, here’s an introduction of Alipay (支付宝) and related Alibaba services , courtesy of the Alibaba Group.

We caught up with few fintech veterans from China last week, and discussed about the evolution of Alipay and some of the defining moments that made Alipay what it is today. 

Interestingly, Alipay Ka Tong – a pivotal product that seemed insignificant at the time but actually set the course that Alipay is on today –  is almost unheard of outside China (Try to google it and you will know what I mean). 

This is probably because of the timing. Ka Tong was launched in 2008 (before Alibaba became famous and the media scrutinised its every action). Products that didn’t wow the masses generally fell off the radar of English language media. 

So this piece is really a tribute to Ka Tong, without which, you would still need to ‘top up’ for Alipay ‘wallet’ before going shopping online.


Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


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Prior to Momentum Works, Yorlin was in the financial sector in SIngapore and Hong Kong for 10 years - working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, AXA and HSBC. She feels that corporate knowledge are undervalued in the start-up ecosystem and want to change this. At Momentum Works, she manages operations, overseeing joint venture operations with partners from all over the world. She always makes time to speak to people as you never know what’s the next game changer in the fickle world of fintech, e-commerce or mobile internet. In her free time, you can find her being the slave to her 5 cats.