Safaricom strikes deal to use M-Pesa services on Alibaba shopping website

Kenya’s Safaricom has announced it has secured a deal to use its M-Pesa mobile payment service for online shopping on, a website run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

The deal will allow Kenyan shoppers to buy goods on the site using M-Pesa in a matter of weeks, and is part of the telecoms firm’s plans to expand its most profitable product beyond Kenya.

M-Pesa was launched more than a decade ago to offer Kenyans without bank accounts a network to transfer cash via mobile phones, and is has since grown to offer a range of payment services, loans and savings to more than 21 million people in Kenya.

“As our customers get more digital, they want to shop in a more digital kind of a format, that’s why we are seeing e-commerce growing,” said Safaricom’s chief customer officer, Sylvia Mulinge.

Safaricom, partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Vodafone in the UK, is Kenya’s largest operator with 65% of the country’s mobile phone users or 30 million subscribers.