• An Uber vehicle is seen in Manhattan on July 20, 2015 in New York City.

An Uber vehicle is seen in Manhattan on July 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo : Getty Images)

China’s leading digital payment service Alipay can now be used to hail an Uber car anywhere in the world via its mobile app.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Alipay's parent company, said on Tuesday that it has extended its partnership with Uber Technologies Inc. to allow its 450 million Alipay users to use the digital payments app to request and pay for a ride in all 69 countries where Uber operates. The service has already been made available for Alipay users in mainland China since 2014, and in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau since earlier this year.

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Uber did not disclose the financial terms of the partnership, but had acknowledged that Alipay will receive a portion of each transaction it provides, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The tie-up also extends to Alipay's collaboration with Indian e-commerce provider Paytm, enabling Uber to work with two of the biggest countries in the world.

Emil Michael, Uber's senior vice president for business, described the partnership as among the most important ones Uber has ever made. "There are very few partnerships that have the scale," he told reporters.

The deal will help Uber gain a more level playing field with its Chinese rival, Didi Kuaidi, which entered an agreement with Lyft in April that made it easier for its Chinese users to hail a ride in the U.S.

Didi is part of a broader coalition of ride-sharing companies, which includes Lyft and Singapore's GrabTaxi, which are trying to consolidate its apps in an effort to compete better with Uber in markets all over the world.

The market certainly doesn't lack in competition as Alibaba, whose affiliate Ant Financial Services group operates Alipay, is also an investor in Didi Kuaidi and Lyft.

The Alipay app will continue to promote "other partnerships" within China as well as promote Uber outside of the country, Michael said.

The partnership comes as more Chinese travel abroad, of which many do not have credit cards and use mobile payments instead of cash. In 2015, Chinese tourists took more than 120 million trips overseas, according to the China National Tourism Administration, and are expected to reach the 200 million-mark by 2020.

Zhen Liu, Uber China's senior vice president of corporate strategy, said the number of Uber rides taken by Chinese travelers during the Lunar New Year, one of the biggest holidays in China, was 10 times more than the past year.

"We believe we're just getting started," Liu said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "This partnership is critical to our continued China strategy."

With the update, Alipay customers will now be able to pay for rides in the U.S. and elsewhere in Chinese yuan rather than using a dual-currency credit card, Uber said in a statement.

Uber's partnership with Alipay is a contrast to the ride-hailing giant's relationship with Alibaba rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. The Chinese software giant, which has invested heavily in Didi, has previously blocked Uber from its WeChat messaging app, which has around 700 million users and connects directly to Didi Kuaidi.