Kenya’s mobile operating firm Safaricom has secured a deal with China’s largest e-commerce company, Aliexpress. The deal will enable Kenyan shoppers to buy goods on the Aliexpress.com site, run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, using Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile payment service for online shopping.

“This obviously then opens up a lot more opportunity because today customers on this platforms are limited because you must have a credit card to be able to pay. Now you will now be actually able to pay for the product or service that you are buying using M-Pesa, and you pay for it in Kenya shillings currency,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Safaricom’s Chief Customer Officer.

According to Mulinge, the new partnership with AliExpress will not affect the telco’s e-commerce platform but seeks to address small traders needs as it continues to expand M-PESA’s capabilities.

“To be able to use the service, the normal charges that you pay for any other service that you have in the country it is what is going to apply. So we are not charging more, you are just going to pay for the normal charges that you  incur when paying for any other pay bill service, and based on that, we have worked out an agreement with Ant Financial services which is the company that owns Aliexpress, to be able to figure out how we would share revenue from that,” Mulinge added.

M-Pesa was launched in 2007 to offer Kenyans without bank accounts a network to transfer cash via mobile phones. It now offers a range of payment services, loans and savings to more than 21 million people in the country.

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