- GNC, the health-supplement retailer with 9,000 locations worldwide, has started to accept transactions done via Alipay on its website, according to a news release made available to Mobile Marketer. The agreement lets the more than 520 million people who have an Alipay account buy vitamins, supplements, minerals, herbs, diet and energy products. Alipay is a leading online and mobile payments provider in China.
- The Alipay/GNC partnership capitalizes on the growing interest by Chinese consumers in buying health and nutritional products from the U.S., the release said. Alipay pointed to research from Euromonitor International Ltd. which said China's vitamins and dietary-supplement market is expected to reach $28.7 billion by 2021.
- GNC's international sales rose 1.3% to $43.6 million in Q2 2017 from $43.1 million a year earlier, according to its quarterly earnings report. Meanwhile, U.S. and Canada revenue fell 4.8% to $543.4 million during the period.
GNC has struggled with declining sales as the health-supplements industry gets upended by e-commerce companies like Amazon. International sales, while still a tiny fraction of the company's overall revenue, have shown modest growth. The partnership will Alipay opens up a potentially significant market of Chinese customers.
Alipay's working with GNC follows other recent deals from the mobile payments provider, which was founded by Alibaba Group and Jack Ma. Alipay is specifically focused on evolving "from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler," the company has said. Earlier this month, it teamed with online review provider Yelp to help Chinese travelers find hotels, restaurants and attractions in U.S. cities.
According to research from Analysys, Alipay retains approximately 54% share of total mobile transaction value. Tencent's WeChat Pay, one of its main competitors, had a 40% stake in Q1 2017, Analysys said. China's mobile payments market last year reached $5.5 trillion, or approximately 50x the size of the $112 billion market in the U.S., according to consulting firm iResearch. But the growing interest of major U.S. and North American businesses like GNC in partnering with Alipay suggests that adoption could ramp up.