While Tencent, Alibaba, and UC Web are making big-dollar investments in US startups, successful IPOs for travel portal Qunar and classifieds site 58.com have further improved the prospects for Chinese tech companies going public in the US. Now, ecommerce giant Alibaba, which is itself expected to soon file to go public, is extending its payments platform, Alipay, in the US. Today, Alipay, which is roughly equivalent to PayPal, announced a partnership with UATP, a payments service used by most of the world’s global airlines and accepted by thousands of merchants for air, rail, hotel, and travel agency payments. The partnership opens up these travel businesses to the enormous and growing Chinese tourism market. Chinese consumers will be able to book and pay for their travel on international websites using their Alipay accounts. There are 800 million such accounts. Chief architect of Alipay International Jingming Li says the company, which had noticed that a lot of its members shop directly from US and European websites, has been trying to figure out a way to help Chinese travelers have a smoother experience when going abroad. This deal now puts almost all of the world’s major airlines and hotels within Alipay’s reach. Full story here.