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China's e-commerce giant relaunches reward points platform

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HANGZHOU, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Alipay, China's leading third-party online payment platform and a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group, has spinned off its reward points service as a wholly-owned subsidiary to tap the country's booming e-commerce market.

Jifen Bao, the relaunched reward points platform, will be based in the eastern city of Nanjing, Jiangsu province, with an initial capital of 10 million yuan (1.57 million U.S. dollars). The service enables clients to redeem points to make small purchases on Alibaba's e-commerce subsidiaries, such as Taobao, and to pay utility bills, company officials said Tuesday.

Alipay Vice CEO Jing Xiandong said opportunities have matured for Alipay to remake the reward points service, first launched in 2002, into an independent company.

Jifen Bao now has a number of partners, including Chinese insurer Ping An's points-for-prizes platform Wanlitong.com, Industrial Bank, telecom firms in east and south coastal regions, hotels, and other e-commerce sites, Jing said.

Alipay is China's leading third-party online payment platform and accounts for an estimated 49.56 percent of the market with nearly 600 million registered users.

E-commerce grew robustly in China in the past few years. Trading volume of China's online retail market stood at 212 billion yuan in the third quarter this year, up 58 percent compared with the same period last year.

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