, the Internet payment subsidiary of Alibaba Group, confirmed that the company has formally established a new rural business unit, aiming to reach non-e-commerce users in third- and fourth-tier cities as well as in rural areas.

This new business unit at Alipay is expected to provide convenient and rapid payment services to the rural market in China.

Alipay said that the new business unit’s expansion in rural areas is currently divided into two parts: convenient payment popularization and rural financial services cooperation. For convenient payment popularization, Alipay plans to cooperate with banks and telecom site in rural areas to offer various payment application guidance and consulting services to rural users, so as to popularize Internet payment in rural areas. In regards to rural financial service cooperation, Alipay hopes to apply innovative technical methods to help improve financial services in rural areas.

Alipay’s new rural business unit marks the first time for a Chinese third-party payment organization to specially establish a unit to explore the rural Chinese market. According to statistics previously published by Alibaba Group, in 2012, its B2C e-commerce site realized trading value of over CNY1 trillion. Meanwhile, the third- and fourth-tier market saw a growth rate of over 60%, which was much higher than the first- and second-tier market.