Alibaba-backed Alipay looks to boost spending by Chinese tourists in Europe
It won’t be a general launch however, with Alibaba limiting Alipay to Chinese tourists, allowing them to make payments in stores, receive offers and view nearby shops and restaurants, and will be targeting the UK, France and Germany.
Alipay currently has around 450 million users worldwide and processes 175 million transactions a day, with a record peak of 85,000 transactions per second.
The tourist pound or Euro could prove to an incredibly lucrative area for Alipay, as the company estimates that 234 million Chinese will visit the continent each year by 2020.
These travellers will also be made to feel even more at home with Alipay’s ‘Local Services Platform’, which will be launched within the app in May, and will customise the service based on the user’s location, offering a detailed description and reviews of the shops and restaurants around them. It also allows them to plot a route via a bilingual interactive map and receive customised location based offers and coupons.
“Our customers have very high trust in our brand as Alipay is an essential part of their daily life,” said Sabrina Peng, President of Alipay International. “With this expansion user can now access Alipay in Europe, allowing them to enjoy a seamless experience when travelling. Whether it’s e-commerce or brick-and-mortar shops, we are expanding our presence internationally to enable our customers to access Alipay wherever they are.”
“From a merchant perspective, the opportunity is huge as Chinese consumers feel the most comfortable using Alipay to complete purchases. Currently we are focused on the U.K., France and German markets as these are the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists to shop – both online and offline.”
Recent research by payments specialists Skrill found that digital wallets like Alipay have enjoyed a major surge in popularity and are now used by more than half of all UK online shoppers whenever they purchase goods online.
Overall, 54 percent of UK consumers said they often or always used digital wallets such as PayPal, Google Wallet, or Square, to shop and pay.
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