Alipay has clear ambitions beyond China.
The largest mobile payments company in Asia has now developed regional plans in the travel sector. At the moment, Alipay’s priority is to tap on the Chinese tourists to expand its acceptance points globally. The sheer massive Chinese population is proving to be a clear advantage for Alipay over other mobile wallets. With more than 48% of the third party online payment market in China, Alipay now plans to make overseas travel easy for Chinese tourists in Asian destinations.
Alipay Overseas Transportation Card is a service that allows Chinese tourists to buy transportation cards from their Alipay application in mobile phones. At this moment, Singapore, Thailand, and Macau has agreed to a partnership with Alibaba group. In Singapore, Flashpay card will be now available for purchase on the Alipay application. The same applies for Thailand’s Rabbit Card and Macau Pass. They are also negotiating with Hong Kong’s Octopus Holdings. Sabrina Peng, head of Alipay International shared that they are working to expand the service in places that are popular with Chinese outbound travelers.
The payments juggernaut has made its intention clear. They will partner its existing Chinese customers and heavyweight transport merchants globally to expand into basic services – F&B and Transport. Analysts watching this space understand that in the near future, these international Alipay acceptance points may also be used by international customers.
Alipay is making overseas transportation services seamless for its customers.
When Chinese customers arrive at the airport, tourists can collect these transport cards by scanning a barcode on their phone. Additionally, unused credit will be refunded to their Alipay accounts when they return to China. In this move, Alipay is building customer loyalty even when Chinese users travel beyond China.
Alipay’s expansion plan in Asia is a win-win situation for payments companies.
In Singapore, tourists will buy Flashpay cards from their Alipay application, collect the cards from the Changi Airport. With these cards, Chinese merchants can pay across all merchants accepting Flashpay cards. Alipay is expected to increase its global footprint aggressively in the near future. The existing strategy of creating acceptance points where the Chinese tourists go is a sound one. Chinese tourists get to experience seamless payments from the comfort of an application they are so familiar with. At the same time, merchants in Asia experience a potential increase in revenue with additional tourist spending.