With an increasing number of countries opening their borders visa-free to Chinese travellers, Ant International's mobile payments and marketing platform Alipay+ is boosting its global travel initiative for hospitality and tourism partners. This move comes on the eve of the first large scale Chinese New Year travel rush since the Covid-19 pandemic. In anticipating the recovery of international travel, the platform aims to create growth opportunities for businesses while offering various incentives to users.
In 2023, Alipay+ became the exclusive cross-border digital solution partner to the leading national QR schemes in the region: SGQR in Singapore, DuitNow QR in Malaysia and ZeroPay in South Korea. Currently operating in 57 markets, Alipay+ connects over 88 million worldwide merchants cross-border to 1.5 billion accounts on more than 25 dominant e-wallets and payment apps. This allows international tourists to use their home payment apps with ease and security, both online and offline.
As of January 2024, Alipay+ partner wallets and bank apps include Alipay from Chinese Mainland, AlipayHK from Hong Kong SAR, China, GCash from the Philippines, TrueMoney from Thailand, Touch n Go eWallet from Malaysia, and OCBC Digital from Singapore, among others. According to Douglas L. Feagin, President of Alipay+, 2024 is set to be an exciting year for Alipay+. He stated, "As a global travel phenomenon, Chinese New Year is the perfect moment to kickstart our new range of partnerships, campaigns and product offerings to build a seamless and authentic travel experience and bring more business for merchants large and small."
With the 2024 Chinese New Year holidays around the corner, China's outbound travel bookings have surged significantly, up by ten times compared to 2023. Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, which have relaxed visa policies for Chinese tourists, are among the top travel destinations. Other popular locations include Japan and South Korea. In expectation of this trend, Alipay+ and its affiliated markets are partnering to offer travel convenience and exclusive campaigns.
To make the Alipay app the go-to travel companion for Chinese globe-trotters, Alipay has put resources into market leadership with three Rs: transparent and competitive exchange rates, free or discounted roaming data packages, and in-app ride-hailing convenience in more and more destinations. Similarly, global merchants are offering wide-ranging special packages that comprise special voucher bundles with up to 90 percent savings, deals by more than 500 street merchants around Mount Fuji in Japan, among others.
Furthermore, Alipay+ has built its merchant coverage in key travel destinations over 2023. This includes enabling SGQR in Singapore, which is accepted island-wide including at all hawker centres, DuitNow QR in Malaysia, accepted by 1.8 million merchants and South Korea's ZeroPay, accepted by 1.7 million merchants. This allows users of Alipay+ payment partners to pay using their home e-wallets at virtually all shops big and small in these countries, enabling tourists to travel and pay like a local more easily.
Feagin added, "Travel, especially international travel, is clearly an anchor for national and regional prosperity in Asia and beyond. Alipay+ will continue to expand partnerships and our repertoire of digitization tools to help communities thrive through cross-border travel and commerce."