As Singapore, Thailand, and more countries open borders visa-free to travellers, Alipay+, the cross-border mobile payments and marketing platform operated by Ant International, steps up the global travel drive for its hospitality and tourism partners on the eve of the first full Chinese New Year travel boom after the Covid pandemic.
Operating across 57 markets, Alipay+ now connects over 88 million global merchants cross-border to 1.5 billion accounts on over 25 leading e-wallets and payment apps. International travellers may pay online and offline with their home payment apps around the world with ease and security. Merchants utilize Alipay+ digital marketing and growth tools to build more effective consumer engagement at home and abroad.
As of January 2024, Alipay+ partner wallets and bank apps include Alipay (Chinese Mainland), AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), GCash (Philippines), TrueMoney (Thailand), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), OCBC Digital (Singapore) and more.
“2024 will be an exciting year for Alipay+ to unlock many digital innovations in online and offline cross-border commerce,” said Douglas L. Feagin, President of Alipay+. “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.”
Exclusive campaigns to drive merchant growth and user savings
As February 9, Friday, has been declared a holiday in anticipation of the CNY celebration on the 10th, a long weekend awaits Filipinos. These long weekends are usually an opportunity for Pinoys to feed their wanderlust, and get on that vacation vibe.
According to digital travel platform, Agoda, booking data between January 1 to 15 for check-ins on February 9 or 10 show that Japan is the top destination for Filipinos for the Chinese New Year. Apart from Japan, Filipinos are also traveling to other nearby flight destinations, with Hong Kong ranking second, Thailand in third place, South Korea in fourth, and Singapore completing the Top Five picks.
In line with the season and evolving travel behaviors, Alipay has invested in building 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.
On the destinations’ side, global merchants are matching with wide-ranging special packages for Alipay+ partner users:
⦁ Special voucher bundles with up to 90 percent savings for use across all Alipay+ merchants in Southeast Asia
⦁ Deals by more than 500 street merchants around Mount Fuji in Fujiyoshida and Kawaguchi Lake in Japan
⦁ All ZeroPay merchants across South Korea and at shops in the most popular shopping district, Myeongdong
⦁ Luxury brands across Europe including Cartier, Valentino, Harrods, Selfridges, Duomo di Milano, La Rinascente and El Corte Ingles
⦁ Dubai Airport Duty Free Shop in the United Arab Emirates will conduct a UEFA ticket lottery throughout February offering Alipay+ users the chance to win a set of UEFA tickets, with flights and accommodation included, when they spend over 250 AED.
Expanding the Cross-Border Merchant Ecosystem
The new push in 2024 is built on significant expansion of Alipay+ merchant coverage in key travel destinations over 2023.
In 2023, Alipay+ became the only cross-border digital solution partner to leading national QR schemes in the region: SGQR (Singapore), DuitNow(Malaysia) and ZeroPay(South Korea). 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.
In Singapore, SQGR is accepted island-wide including at all hawker centres, while Malaysia’s DuitNow QR is accepted by 1.8 million merchants and South Korea’s ZeroPay includes 1.7 million merchants. In Malaysia, 8 Alipay+ payment partners were newly enabled on DuitNow QR in the fourth quarter of 2023.
In other destinations:
⦁ Thailand: The more than 100,000 Alipay+ partner stores include premium international brands such as King Power and Jim Thomson, and shopping malls including Central, Robinsons, Siam Paragon and EmQuartier. Recent expansion to 7-Eleven, McDonalds and Big C supermarket outlets gives tourists more everyday convenience as they travel around Thailand like a local.
⦁ Singapore: Alipay+ merchant coverage continues to scale, adding popular travel spots such as Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Mount Faber Peak and Jumbo Seafood. In addition, RWS is introducing a festive campaign for Chinese tourists via Alipay, where users can access special promotions and privileges in-app.
⦁ Japan: Alipay+ is already accepted at more than 1.5 million merchants. South Korea’s Naver Pay and Toss Pay, Singapore’s OCBC Digital and Changi Pay, Malaysia’s MyPB by Public Bank, Italy’s Tinaba, Mongolia’s Hipay and Macao’s MPay are the latest digital payment methods to be able to pay at PayPay-affiliated merchants across the country, bringing the total number of Alipay+ partner e-wallets and bank apps that can be accepted among smaller merchants of the country to 16.
⦁ Europe: Alipay+ has partnered with IVS to enable Alipay+ implementation on vending machines in countries including Italy, Spain and France. A promotional offer will be available for users paying with Alipay+ until March 2024.
⦁ Italy: Alipay+ coverage with URI Taxi, the largest association of cab cooperatives in Italy, continues to grow across 10,000 vehicles present in 12 regions of Italy including top tourist destinations such as Milan, Rome, and Florence.
⦁ United Arab Emirates: Alipay+ has announced new partnerships with key industries and government bodies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In Dubai, more than 100,000 merchants can now accept Alipay+. Over 17,000 taxis across the UAE using now support Alipay+ partner e-wallets and banking apps. Tourists will also benefit from real-time tax refunds on purchases using their home e-wallets at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah airports through Alipay+.
“Travel, especially international travel, is clearly an anchor for national and regional prosperity in Asia and beyond,” said Feagin. “Alipay+ will continue to expand partnerships and our repertoire of digitalization tools to help communities thrive through cross-border travel and commerce. “