Cash is obsolete in most major Chinese cities, in a large part thanks to Alipay — the world's largest digital payments platform. More than 711 million people and 80 million merchants use the app each month.
Alipay’s parent company, Ant Group, is on a mission to serve two billion people and 200M SMEs worldwide, by 2036. Having dominated the Chinese market it had to go global, so in 2020 Alipay+ was born.
Alipay+ is a new ecosystem that makes it possible for businesses all over the world to accept different payment methods, including e-wallets and bank apps, conduct cost-effective digital marketing campaigns and ultimately be connected to over 1.2 billion potential customers in the APAC region.
At a time where Chinese tech businesses were under increasing scrutiny in the US, and Alipay itself was working with Chinese regulators who were keen to break up its monopolistic power, a truly international best-in-class brand and experience was critical to ensuring that Alipay+ built trust with global merchants and consumers from the outset.
This was a first for the business. Alipay had never invested significantly in brand or experience design before, which is one of the reasons so few westerners truly understand its value and omnipresence, because as a brand and experience it’s entirely foreign to the way we interact.
Working with a global design partner was also a first of its kind within Alipay. We worked deeply collaboratively – running near-daily working sessions with the Alipay team to develop the brand strategy, messaging and identity as they continued to build the product and evolve its functionality on a weekly basis.
To create a brand that could adapt as the product evolved, ensuring salience from a consumer brand point of view, we created a living and breathing system that can flex to tell a variety of stories and signal a breadth of promises to customers.
The brand system builds on a visual analogy of a key product truth - the bringing together of dozens of previously disconnected digital wallets. A contemporary palette and warm tone of voice helps the brand feel approachable and trustworthy, while impactful motion and 3D assets developed in partnership with Colors and the Kids add charm, warmth and personality to the brand both on and offline.
The strategy and brand engages consumers and merchants, stands out in crowded digital and physical POS environments and ultimately brings together dozens of local e-wallets and financial institutions, positioning Alipay+ as a truly multinational tech company.
The result is a clean and confident brand that eschews the slick, cold norms of technology branding in favour of warmth and personality. The visual system boils down what the product does to a simple analogy which can stretch across the required markets and cultures.
As Ant Group looks forward to the next decade, with their ambitious goal of reaching 2 billion users, we're thrilled to have partnered with them to craft the strategy and brand that will take Alipay+ global.