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Search and Buy Flights with Alipay and Alternative Airlines
Purchasing Flights with Alternative Airlines just became easier
The UK based OTA, Alternative Airlines, accepts the Chinese payment method, Alipay. Alternative Airlines is one of the only Travel Agencies in the UK where you can buy flights with Alipay. Just search for flights as normal and simply select Airtel as your payment method when you decide to book.
At Alternative Airlines, we want you to pay your way, using the currency and payment method that best suits you. Check out our other methods of payment here.
Read: Online Travel Agency Alternative Airlines Accepts Alipay
"At Alternative Airlines, we are always trying to make flight bookings easier for our customers. Adding a convenient, secure payment method like Alipay was a natural fit."
-Sam Argyle, Managing Director
You can now use Alipay to buy your flights with Alternative Airlines
China’s travellers are expected to take an estimated 700 million trips over the next five years. That means, if you take a 1 in a million trip from China, there are still 700 trips out there just like yours! Alternative Airlines understand the importance of easy travel and have offered Alipay as a payment method to provide Students, travellers and expatriats with the best service when buying flights.
The popularity of mobile payments has been on the rise in China since the launch of Alipay and WeChat Pay, which jointly take 90% of China's mobile payment market share as the daily app of Chinese consumers. In 2016, Alipay and WeChat Pay enabled $2.9 trillion in Chinese digital payments, representing a 20-fold increase over the past four years, according to a report by the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance released in April 2017.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Alipay?
Alipay is an online payment service that belongs to the Alibaba group, supported by Alibaba, Taobao, Tmall and an increasing number of independent online stores.
Alipay is an eWallet payment method, a secure place where customers can store funds to be used online. It's a payment option that works like many other eWallet services, where you add payment methods (cards or bank accounts) to your Alipay account, and can then process orders using them. Alipay is a very popular payment option in Asia and part of the Alibaba group.
Alipay is an eWallet payment method, a secure place where customers can store funds to be used online. As it is an eWallet, consumers have access to a broad range of payment options when they pay using Alipay.
Given its significant market share, Alipay should be a key consideration for any merchant wishing to sell into the Chinese market. The Alipay brand is well known and is part of one of the largest eCommerce companies in the world, the Alibaba group.
How Does Alipay Work?
Alipay handles online payments in Escrow and values the buyer's protection. A typical purchase process using Alipay goes as follows:
1. The buyer chooses a product and makes the payment to the seller via Alipay
2. Alipay, instead of transferring the money to the seller's Alipay account immediately, keeps the money as Escrow and informs the seller that the buyer has made the payment. At the time the money is neither directly controlled by the buyer nor the seller
3. The seller sends the e-ticker to the buyer
4. The buyer receives the e-ticket, and makes confirmation in their Alipay account
5. Alipay receives the buyer's confirmaton, and sends the money to the seller.
Alipay is a leader in online payments and has over 400 million users worldwide as well as controlling of just under half of China’s online payment market in October 2016. It processes more than 80 million transactions per day. This is three times the amount handled by PayPal, and the equivalent to one-third of the USD 2.5 trillion in total global online payments in 2014.
Alipay, the online payments unit of Chinese internet giant Alibaba, is teaming up with world airlines to let its 800 million account holders purchase flights without a credit card. The company’s deal with UATP (Universal Air Travel Plan), a private network run by airlines like Air New Zealand, Delta, Aero Mexico, Qantas, and Japan Airlines, is designed to capture a slice of the China’s rapidly expanding travel sector, currently worth some 622 billion yuan ($102 billion).
Despite over half of worldwide online customers using credit cards to make purchases, more than 50% of E-Commerce sales are completed through alternative payment methods. Information cited in the report estimates that the combined share of different alternative payment methods in global E-Commerce sales will rise, leaving the share of bank cards at a decrease.
Alternative payment methods are particularly favored over bank cards in emerging markets such as China. Here, E-Wallets like Alipay made up for more than half of online sales.
23rd May 2018
The Savoy strikes partnership with Alipay
The Savoy has announced a partnership with Alipay, China’s leading third-party mobile and online payment platform.
The property will become be the first luxury London hotel to implement Alipay across the entire hotel, as well as Simpson’s in the Strand.
The Savoy is a Fairmont managed hotel and part of the AccorHotels network.
With China being the world’s biggest third party mobile payments market, and with Alipay providing service to 520 million people who use mobile payment when they travel in the EU, The Savoy recognises the need to offer this fast, secure, and cashless payment service to its Chinese guests and once again will lead the way in the Luxury Hotel market.
Speaking about the partnership, Philip Barnes, managing director of The Savoy, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with Alipay, and to be the first luxury London hotel to embark on such a partnership.
“London is the favourite destination for Chinese tourists coming to Britain and we at The Savoy want to ensure that we are offering a seamless guest experience that touches on every element of their stay, including their preferred methods of payment.”
Alipay, run by Alibaba’s financial arm Ant financial, has been developing partnerships with major luxury retailers in London since the platform launched in Europe in 2016, so this is a natural evolution.
“We are excited to see Alipay’s partnership with The Savoy, which allows Chinese tourists coming into London to enjoy the ultimate accommodation and dining experiences.
“It’s the perfect match between 19th century culture and 21st century technology,” commented Li Wang, head of Alipay EMEA.
6th March 2018
Alipay in partnership with Motion Pay
Alipay, the world’s leading digital payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, announced that its partnership with Motion Pay Technology Inc. (Motion Pay) has resulted in a significant number of merchants across Canada enabling Alipay at point-of-sale. Motion Pay is a Canadian-based fintech company that empowers Canadian merchants to accept Chinese payments. Through this new alliance, Alipay is now accepted in all major cities in Canada including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Banff, among others, and across several categories including retail, restaurants, hospitality, and luxury.
“We are thrilled with the success of our partnership with Motion Pay to date, which has played an instrumental role in our growth across Canada this past year,” said Souheil Badran, President of Alipay, Americas. “As our first Canadian partner, Motion Pay has helped us to reach critical mass in acceptance points across Canada. We look forward to continuing our relationship and enabling even more Canadian brands and retailers to connect with the growing number of Chinese consumers seeking items they can’t find at home, and simplifying payments by offering Alipay’s familiar method.”
Alipay is China's leading online payment provider and the primary means of online and mobile payment for Chinese consumers. Through the partnership, Alipay’s more than 520 million active users in China will be able to use their Alipay Mobile Wallet at point-of-sale with Motion Pay merchants, both in-store and online. “Chinese consumers are a rapidly-increasing segment for Canadian merchants,” said Eric Paquet, president of Motion Pay Technology Inc. “We continue to drive Alipay’s Canadian market adoption in every major Canadian city from Halifax to Vancouver. Many Canadian merchants can already attest to Alipay helping their business expand Chinese commercial, tourism and trade opportunities.”
Marco Pasteris, VP of Business Development of the Birks Group Inc., compliments the Alipay-Motion Pay payment solution, “Thanks to Motion Pay, we are one of the first merchants to accept Alipay in Canada. Our payment solution from Alipay and Motion Pay offers data security, stability and efficiency on transactions.” Nathan Xu, co-founder of Baby enRoute, sees great growth potential providing this payment service. “We received so many benefits from accepting Alipay in our store. It helps us to provide a fast checkout service to our customers and allows us to maintain our existing payment process. Through Alipay’s ‘Discover’ function we can offer marketing promotions that attract more Chinese customers who come to our store willing to spend because of the simplicity and familiarity of Alipay.”
7th February 2018
Apple accept Alipay in Chinese stores!
Apple open its first Alipay premitted payments at its 41 mainland China stores. Shoppers can now enjoy the ease of mobile payment - the first time the US tech goliath has accepted third-party mobile payment at any of its 500 shops around the world. China is the world's largest market for third party mobie payments and this is dominated by Alipay. Despite iPhones becoming increasingly common in China, ApplePay does not get a look in. Ant Financial is aggressively recruiting physical stores to accept Alipay. But Alipay is already accepted for online payment of iTunes and apps, making it unclear this will move the dial much for either Apple or Ant.
1st December 2017
Alipay Takes Off in the South Island
Alipay, the world’s leading mobile and online payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, is quickly expanding across the South Island as a Christchurch Airport project gains altitude.
The project sees the Airport’s ‘South’ initiative assist businesses to become Alipay merchants so they can connect with the record numbers of Chinese visiting New Zealand.
More than three thousand businesses have already expressed an interest in joining the smartphone app with the project’s first retailers having just gone live on the globally-successful system.
Christchurch Airport’s Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson is not surprised at the project’s popularity, saying Alipay is a valuable opportunity for New Zealand businesses.
“Alipay has 520 million Chinese users. By becoming an Alipay merchant, kiwi businesses can start marketing directly to the app’s users, establishing direct one-to-one relationships.”
Justin Watson says Alipay is a cutting-edge tool that will connect small, medium and large kiwi businesses with the more than 400,000 Chinese who visit New Zealand every year.
“The Chinese use Alipay more than credit cards. Because they trust it and know how it works, our Chinese guests are more likely to spend with a business that offers Alipay than one that doesn’t. Better still, being an Alipay merchant lets kiwi businesses talk to these visitors before, during and after their holiday here.”
“Users can look up places to stay or eat, and book activities before they leave China, businesses can offer them special discounts and while they’re here users receive notifications on their smartphone when they’re near any business that accepts Alipay. This is especially important given the swing away from organised tours – more than 60% of the Chinese visitors who come to New Zealand are now Free Independent Travellers (FITs).”
Christchurch Airport signed a world-first partnership agreement with Alipay’s parent company, Alibaba Group, in April 2017. This is the first initiative to result from that agreement.
“New Zealand is the envy of the world when it comes to tourism, and Chinese visitor numbers are only going to expand in the years to come. Every business we have spoken to across the South Island understands the tremendous opportunity at their fingertips and that’s very pleasing. By enabling Alipay merchants are not only removing friction at the point of sale, but opening up a highly sophisticated marketing channel. From user reviews to location-based marketing and loyalty rewards, there are countless ways to connect with new customers and keep them engaged.”
Justin Watson says the partnership initiatives are designed to both grow the economy across the South Island’s regions and improve the experience that Chinese visitors have when they come to New Zealand.
“This is about using the power of the internet to make it easier for New Zealand businesses, of all sizes, to do business internationally. The potential is enormous and we are incredibly proud to be creating this opportunity for our place in the world.”
23rd November 2017
Alipay partners with Australian Tourism Export Council
Alipay has formed a partnership with the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) with the goal of expanding its mobile payments platform into the nation's tourism industry.
The partnership will seek to educate and upskill tourism business owners and staff so they are able to "capitalise on Alipay's 520 million active Chinese users", the ATEC said in an announcement on Thursday.
ATEC members will be able attend workshops conducted by Alipay -- which is operated by Alibaba's financial services arm Ant Financial -- in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to learn more about Chinese consumers.
In the year ending June 30, 2017, nearly 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Australia, more than 20 percent greater than the previous year, and contributed AU$9.8 billion to the economy, according to Tourism Australia. More than 3.3 million Chinese tourists are predicted to be visiting Australia annually by 2026.
In addition, around 165,000 Chinese nationals are studying in Australia, according to Tourism Australia, representing 29 percent of all international students.
"Chinese visitors have become Australia's largest tourist market and their spending potential is expected to be worth up to AU$13 billion by 2020 so our industry is very aware of the opportunities ahead," ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said in a statement.
In Australia, the number of merchants using Alipay has grown from 1,000 to 8,000 in just a few months, according to the ATEC.
Earlier this year, Brad Chan, founder of Australian government-backed non-profit startup incubator Haymarket HQ, also said Australia has a reputation for being "clean and green" in China -- so much so that a box of Sanitarium Weet-Bix can sell for AU$50 in the country.
Alipay's partnership with the ATEC does not mark its first foray into the Australian market. The mobile payments provider formed an agreement with the Commonwealth Bank of Australiato use the bank's digital payments infrastructure so that Australian consumers can make purchases across Alibaba Group's ecommerce websites including AliExpress, while also allowing the bank to target Chinese tourists and students living in Australia.
Ant Financial has been actively looking for business opportunities outside China, as mobile payment competition with WeChat in the country has been stiff. It has been aggressively expanding Alipay's footprint beyond China, partnering with banks and other organisations around the world such as Uber and Starbucks to tap Chinese consumers during overseas travels.
In April last year, Alibaba paid $1 billion to acquire a controlling share in Southeast Asian ecommerce operator Lazada Group, and in June invested another $1 billion to boost its stake.
The deal provided Alibaba access to six markets in the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and put the Alipay brand in front of consumers in four of those markets.
15th November 2017
Alipay arrives in Vietnam
National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (“NAPAS”) and Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”), operator of Alipay, have signed a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) to outline the strategic partnership between the parties for enabling Alipay for Chinese travelling in Vietnam and contributing to the establishment of a cashless society in Vietnam.
Alipay aims to work closely with NAPAS, the national switching and clearing company of Vietnam, in the Vietnamese market in compliance with State Bank of Vietnam regulations as well as international payment best practices.
One of the aims of the co-operation is to allow Chinese tourists to use the Alipay payment service throughout Vietnam, via NAPAS member banks and its intermediary payment service networks.
NAPAS and Alipay aim to expand on the co-operation. In the future, Vietnamese users may be able to use NAPAS-branded cards issued by NAPAS’ bank members to shop on e-commerce sites and platforms under the Alibaba Group, such as AliExpress and Taobao.
2nd November 2017
Alipay arrives at London Heathrow
A new payment method is being introduced at London Heathrow Airport which will see a cardless and cashless process for passengers.
Plaza Premium Lounges is one of the first outlets at Heathrow to launch the payment method, known as Alipay, across all the terminals it operates in.
Alipay is a popular, eWallet payment system based in China which provides a secure way to shop and store money and all transactions are carried out safely through the Alipay website, either by searching for the outlet name or by scanning a QR code via a mobile phone, tablet or other technical devices.
The payment method is already popular within the travel industry with many airlines and airports across the world already accepting the electronic payment process such as Aeroflot, Vanilla Air and Emirates.
Amin Amin, general manager of the United Kingdom arm of Plaza Premium Group, said: “Alipay is already a successful and well-known brand across East Asia and we’re proud to be able to bring the concept to Europe and the UK, but more importantly be the first brand to bring it to London Heathrow Airport through our lounges, proving that once again Plaza Premium Group has a strong desire to do be one step ahead of our competitors which in turn gives a better customer experience.
“Alipay is a slick, easy and convenient way of paying in an ever-growing technology led age that is becoming ever-less reliant on cash and card payments and means that passengers that use our services won’t find the need to ensure that they carry various kinds of currency for the
destinations that they will visit.”
Payment methods that work in association with Alipay include Visa, Mastercard and American Express and it was launched in China in 2004 and Zapper is the UK company that facilitates Alipay.
18th October 2017
Alipay dominates China’s mobile payment market
As of the end of 2016, the transaction size reached 157 trillion yuan, more than 1,000 times growth in four year’s time. The mobile payment market size in China is now 50 times that of the US, the report added.
Third-party payment agencies, Union Pay, traditional banks and competition from other market forces, has been the industry’s main driving force, which brings endless innovation, the report said.
“Over the past five years, Alipay has almost led all the innovations in the history of payments, including secured transactions, quick payments, mobile payments, face recognition, blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet of things and cloud computing,” said Cheng Li, CTO of Ant financial. “These basic models of technology have supported Alipay’s every innovation.”
4th October 2017
Malaysia Airports announces Alipay partnership
Malaysia Airports, one of the world’s largest airport operator groups in terms of number of passengers handled, has partnered with Alipay, the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform, to promote cashless convenience to tourists from China.
Malaysia Airports was invited as a partner by Ant Financial Services Group that operates Alipay at the recent Global Cashless Eco-System Summit 2017 in Beijing.
Chinese tourism growth
Malaysia Airports hopes to create awareness, boost interest and also strengthen its brand positioning among travellers from China by collaborating with Alipay. Last year, Malaysia Airports recorded 4.9 million passenger traffic movements from China. From January to July 2017, the numbers increased by a further 22% compared with the same period in the previous year, rising to 3.3 million. Improved connectivity and streamlined travel formalities are the two main factors for the increased tourist arrivals from China in recent years. There are currently 470 flights per week connecting Malaysia and China.
“We are continuously looking to enhance the airport experience for all our customers. Thus, to embark on the Alipay cashless payment platform is a major step taken by Malaysia Airports to embrace the future of retail and F&B transactions at its airports. To date, 55.8% and 56.7% outlets at KLIA and KLIA2 Terminal respectively are transacting via Alipay. So far, we have seen a 25% increase in sales from overall Alipay transactions at both terminals. During shopping campaign periods, sales can increase further by 35% to 40%,” saidBadlisham Ghazali, the managing director Malaysia Airports.
Badlisham added further that Malaysia Airports fully supports platforms such as Alipay for providing cashless convenience to customers, especially millennials, who prefer to travel light and are technology savvy. He said that such cashless convenience is also in line with the organisation’s efforts to move towards a highly digitised airport environment. Through the Alipay in-store payment platform, customers can pay in Chinese currency without having to have concerns about the exchange rate, with all transactions performed in a highly secure manner.
Nazli Aziz, senior general manager of Commercial Services introduced the Spend & Win campaign at the summit. It caters specifically for Alipay users during the upcoming year-end holidays through until Chinese New Year. He said, “We are running this campaign from November 2017 to March 2018 to further entice our tourists from China. Great prizes await lucky Alipay users, including a luxury watch, as the monthly grand prize. There are also Malaysia Airports limited edition premium chocolates and e-vouchers to be won throughout this campaign.”
4th October 2017
Adyen rolls out Alipay in stores worldwide
Adyen, the payments platform of choice for the world’s leading companies, today expanded its partnership with the world’s largest third-party mobile and online payment platform, Alipay, to enable retailers worldwide to easily accept non-cash payments from Chinese customers in store.
Used by more than 520 million people, the Alipay partnership comes at a pivotal time ahead of the Golden Week retail rush.
China’s National Day Golden Week started on Sunday 1st October, marking a seven-day holiday where over four million Chinese residents will travel abroad to make the most of retail opportunities. The Chinese spend $300 billion abroad each year, and analysts estimate that UK retailers stand to make upwards of $337 million over the period.
The partnership enables retailers using Adyen's point of sale solution to take payments in store from Chinese consumers paying with their Alipay-enabled mobile device. The Adyen-Alipay solution is completely integrated into the current in store solution Adyen retailers use, so there’s no need for additional terminals or devices. The Alipay payment option is simply added as a new option to the existing payment terminal.
“Europe and the US are popular destinations for the Chinese tourists, so it’s vital that retailers are able to cater to their needs,” said Souheil Badran, President, Alipay North America. “Given the capabilities built into Adyen’s omni-channel service for retailers, as well as Alipay’s included marketing solution, we look forward to enhancing what it means to deliver an integrated retail solution for retailers.”
Roelant Prins, Chief Commercial Officer at Adyen adds: “Chinese tourists are an important audience for retailers to consider. At Adyen, we’re committed to making payments processes as easy as possible for retailers, while delivering a great experience for customers. Our partnership with Alipay helps retailers unlock an enormous opportunity to grow and gain more revenue. For Chinese customers travelling abroad, they will encounter the payment experience they are used to while at home.”
3rd October 2017
You can now use Alipay at all Starbucks stores in China
We have some exciting news for all you coffee fiends out there this Golden Week: never again will you be forced to carry your wallet with you to get your daily dose of caffeine!
Thanks to a new partnership between Alipay and Starbucks, you can now simply pay with your phone through Alipay's mobile payment app at all 2,800 Starbucks locations in China, as well as those in Macau, Malaysia and even some in Japanese airports.
Nowadays, 84 percent of Chinese people say that they feel comfortable leaving home without any cash in their wallet, as China has skipped right over credit cards and plunged straight into the mobile payment revolution with paying by phone becoming second nature to most.
Starbucks has grand ambitions in China of almost doubling its number of outlets in the country to 5,000 by 2021. To help in this effort, the international coffeehouse chain aligned itself with WeChat Pay last year and now has locked down an even more expansive agreement with Alipay.
To promote the use of its mobile payment app in Starbucks locations across the country, Alipay will be running a temporary promotion where customers who spend 50 yuan at Starbucks will receive a five yuan voucher to use upon their next visit.
Alipay is currently in the process of expanding abroad, following the trails set by the tens of millions of Chinese tourists who head overseas each year, hoping to help businesses connect with travelers from the mainland used to the convenience of mobile payments. The way that things are going, it looks like it won't be long before you'll be able to pay for your coffee with your phone anywhere you travel.
27th September 2017
Alipay partners with Canadian tech firm to expand presence in Canada
Chinese online payment platform Alipay has partnered with tech firm SnapPay Inc. to enable Canadian retailers to accept Chinese currency from Chinese shoppers through a mobile wallet.
Alipay North America president Souheil Badran says the company wants to offer Canadian merchants the opportunity to access the Chinese market.
He says 700 Canadian merchants already accept Alipay.
But the partnership gives the payment platform an opportunity to aggressively explore opportunities for expansion in the education, winery, restaurant and retail sectors.
The company touts the increasingly lucrative role Chinese consumers could play for Canadian businesses, given the country’s growing middle class.
Alipay, originally created by Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba.com, was launched in 2004 and has more than 520 million active users. It is now owned by Ant Financial Services Group, a “related company” to Alibaba.
“We want to continue offering Chinese consumers visiting Canada the ability to pay as they would in China. But we also want to offer Canadian merchants the opportunity to access the Chinese market,” Badran said.
The launch comes as Alibaba gears up to host heavy hitters including the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory at its Gateway ’17 Canada conference Monday in Toronto.
Trudeau will take the stage with Alibaba executive chairman and founder Jack Ma at the conference aimed at promoting e-commerce opportunities for Canadian businesses in China.
Ma hosted Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canadian business representatives at the company’s campus in Hangzhou, China last September.
26th September 2017
Alipay has partnered with Norway’s tourism promotion agency to provide better services to Chinese tourists traveling in the Nordic country
Norway is just the latest country to offer Chinese tourists the convenience of using Alipay, which is owned by China’s Alibaba Group. The mobile payment service boasts more than 500 million registered users and plans to grow that number to exceed 2 billion within the next 10 years. It powers hundreds of millions of transactions per day.
The payment method is now accepted in 70 countries and supports transactions in 14 major currencies.
According to China Daily, this latest partnership is between Alipay and the Scandinavian Tourist Board (STB), a joint initiative by Denmark and Norway for promoting tourism in China.
Alipay, which officially launched in Norway on September 4, will use its app and external communication channels to promote Norway as a Chinese-friendly and mobile pay-oriented travel destination. In turn, STB will promote Alipay services in Norway by encouraging local merchants to consider and accept Alipay’s mobile payment solution and marketing platform.
“Now with this partnership with Alipay, we will further support them in deploying Alipay services in this region, which will strengthen the advantages of Norway as well as the Nordics as a Chinese-friendly destination,” said Per Holte, chairman of STB and head of tourism in Asia and Latin America at Innovation Norway, a government agency responsible for promoting innovation in Norway and marketing the country’s tourism on the world market.
Rita Liu, Alipay’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the partnership will benefit both Chinese tourists and Norwegian businesses.
“We have been launching our services in Europe since mid-2016,” Liu said. “We are happy that Norway and the Nordics are embracing Alipay for Chinese tourists. The adoption of Alipay services of both payment and marketing will not only enhance the experience of Chinese consumers, but also help Norwegian businesses to reach out to their Chinese customers even before they depart from China.”
26th September 2017
Alipay strikes more overseas partnerships
Chinese mobile wallet Alipay, which is backed by Ant Financial, continues to make in-roads in increasing its international acceptance network after coming to agreements with several groups in Finland and Sweden. Interestingly, Alipay isn't inking deals with specific retailers or payment processors, as it often does.
Instead, the firm has teamed up with government organizations in Finland and Sweden that handle trade and commerce, which will give the mobile wallet an opportunity to promote its advantages to potential partners, regardless of industry.
If Alipay wants to maximize its payment potential, it will likely have to seek out similar partnerships that can help it reach industries beyond retail. Alipay has been expanding overseas to give its Chinese users the ability to use the payment method while traveling, which is a massive opportunity to increase payment volume. In 2016, China was the world's leading outbound market in tourism, at 135 million travelers, as well as a leader in international spending after expenditure grew by 12% year-over-year (YoY) to reach $261 billion.
It's important to note that Alipay could give users added use cases, and in turn boost international payment volume, if Ant's acquisition of remittance firm MoneyGram gets approved. MoneyGram's massive global network would significantly expand Ant's reach and potentially open up Alipay's services to a wider audience. The acquisition, which was first announced in January, would give Ant access to a network that consists of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts in over 200 countries and territories.
This would be an opportunity for Alipay to integrate the money transfer service with its product, allowing it to capture a piece of the $575 billion remittance industry. However, the acquisition is still waiting for approval, as it has faced criticism by US lawmakers, which means Alipay needs to continue aggressively searching for unique ways to reach users and increase international acceptance.
Digital disruption is rocking the payments industry. But merchants, consumers, and the companies that help move money between them are all feeling its effects differently.
For banks, card networks, and processors, the digital revolution is bringing new opportunities — and new challenges. With new ways to pay emerging, incumbent firms can take advantage of solid brand recognition and large customer bases to woo new customers and keep those they already have.
And for consumers, the digital revolution is providing more choice and making their lives easier. Digital wallets are simplifying purchases, allowing users to pay online with only a username and password and in-store with just a swipe of their thumb.
18th September 2017
China's Alipay cooperates with Thai commercial bank
China's Alipay and Thailand's Kasikorn Bank said on Saturday at Bangkok tourist hotspot Jatujak Market that they will enhance their cooperation in promoting QR code payment in Thailand.
The Thai Bank has already developed a mobile app which supports QR code payment for the Thai market. Chinese tourists can use Alipay app to scan the QR code generated by the Kasikorn app to complete the buying with Thai sellers.
"Chinese accounts for the majority of my customers and we just began to use the Kasikorn app a few days ago and we hope it will make buying more convenient for the Chinese customers," said Piyanas, a woman selling clothes at the Jatujak Market.
Viu, owner of a shop selling colorful notebooks, told Xinhua that she began to use the app this morning and one Chinese tourist had paid her by Alipay soon after.
During a press conference held inside the market, Pipavin Sodprasert, Thailand country manager for Ant Financial, which operates Alipay, told Xinhua that there are some 20,000 Thai businesses using their service and they aim to provide the convenience of QR Code payment, enjoyed by many Chinese now, to Thais, which is consistent with Thai government's target of cashless society.
"I have been to China for many times and we hope Chinese tourists can encourage our society to use e-payment," said Patchara Samalapa, senior executive vice president of Kasikorn Bank, adding that Thai customers can also use their app to scan and to pay.
The bank said their app is the first one that supports QR Code payment in Thailand and they aim to cover some 200,000 shops around the kingdom by the end of this year.
14th September 2017
Alipay and Zapper gives Chinese tourists in South Africa new payment option
Alipay, an online and mobile payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, partners of Zapper, has made it possible for Chinese tourists in South Africa to pay at 10,000 Zapper-affiliated merchants across the country via their smartphones.
Chinese tourists will be able to search for restaurants, bars, theatres, book shops, adventure parks and more through Alipay’s in-app Discovery platform, and pay for their orders in RMB via Alipay by scanning a Zapper QR code.
Expanding new verticals
“South Africa is a must-experience country for Chinese tourists visiting Africa. We are excited to partner with Zapper, the largest mobile payment provider in South Africa, to offer Chinese tourists a safe and convenient payment solution and seamless travel experience,” said Rita Liu, head of Alipay EMEA.
“This cross-continental alliance is in line with the series of expansions into new verticals that Zapper is currently undertaking to diversify its service range, and further strengthen its position as South Africa’s mobile payment and loyalty rewards app of choice. These verticals include hospitality, retail, bills, e-commerce, donations, parking, fuel, and convenience,” said Will Heygate, general manager of Zapper South Africa.
This development arrives on the heels of the online payment service for hop-on-hop-off bus ticketing in Cape Town and Johannesburg that Alipay launched in June this year.
With Alipay’s more than 520 million Chinese users and Zapper’s rapidly burgeoning presence within the global payment landscape, each brand is now also better positioned to strengthen their appeal to the Asian and African customer respectively.
The tourism sector’s potential
According to statistics from the South African Department of Tourism, over 110,000 Chinese tourists visited South Africa in the fiscal year of 2016, with a year-on-year growth of 38%. Tourism in South Africa has continuously grown for seven years and weights 9% of the country’s GDP.
The South African government has recognised the tourism sector's potential to generate economic growth and employment creation. Through the Department of Tourism's strategic plan - National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), the tourism sector is committed to creating a total of 225,000 additional jobs by the year 2020.
12th September 2017
SkySea Cruise to roll out online direct bookings, Alipay
This month, China’s SkySea Cruise Line will begin accepting direct bookings on its upgraded website and roll out Alipay mobile payment on its SkySea Golden Era ship.
Launching on September 12, the upgraded website will feature a direct booking function, alongside new features such as Quick Booking and Online Room Selection.
From September 17, the Alipay payment option will be introduced on SkySea Golden Era, allowing guests to make payment instantly instead of having to link their credit card to their room or pay a fixed deposit.
Guests will be able to use their mobile phone-bound Alipay accounts for most ship purchases, including at the service center, restaurants, bars and duty-free shops.
5th September 2017
Alipay Has World’s First Facial Recognition Payment System
Alipay has a new revolutionary payment technology that is rolling out to smartphones in the east. That technology is a facial recognition payment system they are calling Smile To Pay. Operating this Smile To Pay system for Alipay is the Ant Financial Services Group.
Alipay introduce ‘Smile To Pay’
The Smile To Pay facial recognition payment system would be first used in KFC’s health food concept restaurant called KPRO, which is in Hangzhou, China.
The payment system will work by having payment authenticated through a combination of facial scanning along with an input of the payer’s mobile phone number.
The system will first be used at the KPRO restaurant, though there are plans to expand this use to other stores later on.
The system is actually fast, as it will take just two seconds to recognize and identify a face. After the scan, a second identification is used through the payer’s mobile phone number.
Users of the feature can also enable or disable it anytime. The facial recognition program is accurate, and in tests have shown that even if a person is in disguise it will still be able to recognize the person’s identity.
Is it a fad, or the next secure payment method?
The Smile To Pay facial recognition payment system has been developed by Megvii, a Beijing start-up that uses the Face++ technology it has developed.
This shows that China is going ahead with facial recognition technology that can be used for business transactions, a step that so far companies in the US has fully explored.
That might be in part because US laws are much stricter when it comes to the use of biometrics as a form of identification.
This Smile To Pay system has been much improved from the time it was first introduced in 2015 at the CEBIT technology fair in Hanover, Germany.
1st September 2017
Alipay comes to Africa via Zapper partnership
Chinese tourists in South Africa will have more opportunities to pay via smartphone as Alipay, the world's largest online and mobile payment platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group ("Ant Financial", "Ant"), partners with Zapper, the fast-growing mobile payment, customer insights and digital marketing platform developed in South Africa.
This partnership will allow them to use their Alipay app to settle payment at 10,000 Zapper-affiliated merchant locations across the country. Chinese tourists will also be able to search for restaurants, bars, theatres, book shops, adventure parks and more through Alipay's in-app Discovery platform, and pay for their orders in RMB via Alipay by scanning a Zapper QR code.
"This cross-continental alliance is in line with a series of expansions into new verticals that Zapper has undertaken to diversify its services and further strengthen its position as South Africa's mobile payment and loyalty rewards app of choice. These verticals include hospitality, retail, bill payment, e-commerce, donations, parking, fuel and convenience," said Will Heygate, General Manager of Zapper South Africa.
This development arrives on the heels of the online payment service for "hop-on-hop-off" bus ticketing in Cape Town and Johannesburg that Alipay launched in June this year.
According to statistics from the South African Department of Tourism, over 110,000 Chinese tourists visited South Africa in fiscal 2016, with a year-on-year growth rate of 38%. Tourism in South Africa has grown continuously for 7 years and comprises 9% of the country's GDP.
The South African government has recognized the tourism sector's potential to generate economic growth and employment. Through the Department of Tourism's strategic plan - National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), the tourism sector is committed to creating a total of 225,000 additional jobs by the year 2020.
With Alipay's more than 520 million Chinese users and Zapper's rapidly burgeoning presence within the global payment landscape, each brand is now better positioned to support this local strategy and to strengthen its respective appeal to both Asian and South African customers.
14th August 2017
Alipay promotes cashless payment across EU
From 14th August 2017, Chinese tourists can pay via Alipay to retailers who have a partnership with Barclays in UK.
Alipay is an online payment tool run by Alibaba's financial arm Ant Financial. Chinese expatriots, students and tourists are expected to spend more than 1 billion pounds at various retailers in UK this year, said news website Banking Technology, citing Barclaycard.
British shopping malls including Selfridges and Harrods already accept Alipay.
Last December, the financial arm signed partnership agreement with BNP Paribas, Barclays, UniCredit, and Six Payment Services, a major payment service company, to expand its online payment service in Europe.
Currently, Alipay can be used in France's Printemps, Germany's Zwilling store chain, and stores in Munich Airport.
Alipay's main target is providing service to 520 million Alipay users who use mobile payment when they travel in EU.
Alipay also has signed MOU (memorandum of understanding) related to cashless payment with Monaco government in June.
9th August 2017
Alipay, WeChat Pay vie for customers
"Positive factors: The widespread adoption of mobile payments is fuelled by growing smartphone usage and the expansion of e-commerce" (Reuters).
By dishing out a slew of incentives, such as cash rebates, free bus rides and even a chance to win gold, digital payment companies are taking the cashless payment fever to new heights. The battle comes after UnionPay and Apple both rolled out similar programmes in June and July to cultivate customer loyalty in China.
During the promotional period, consumers who use Alipay, the world’s top mobile payment tool, for their transactions stand to earn up to 4,888 yuan (US$727) in cash rebates if they make purchases at any of the 10 million-plus brick-and-mortar stores across the country accepting the service.
Using the e-payment service automatically gives the consumer a chance to win a piece of the jackpot, an 18.888kg slab of gold.
Tencent’s WeChat Pay (Wallet), which comes in as a close second in China’s red-hot mobile payment arena, also unveiled a raft of promotions during the same period.
Apart from a similar cash rebate scheme, WeChat users can accumulate savings and spend them on Aug 8. Consumers also gain additional cash rewards by sharing promotions with their WeChat contacts.
Alipay and WeChat Pay controlled more than 92% of China’s 18.8 trillion yuan mobile payment market in the first quarter of 2017, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys.
According to research group eMarketer, China is the world’s largest proximity mobile payment market making payments by tapping, swiping or checking in with a mobile phone and nearly half of smartphone users in the country are expected to use such payment methods by 2020.
“This widespread adoption is fueled by growing smartphone usage and the expansion of e-commerce to rural areas,” said eMarketer analyst Shelleen Shum.
A study by consultancy Ipsos and Tencent found that mobile payments have become an intrinsic part of life for many Chinese people today, with 14% of them carrying no cash and 26% carrying less than 100 Yuan, when they head out.
Eric Jing, chief executive of Ant Financial, the parent company of Alipay, said the main objective of mobile payments is “by no means to eliminate cash but to give equal access to a wide array of merchandise and services that were previously unattainable for an underbanked population”.
A seller in Shanghai said, 'more than half of his transactions are made through Alipay, and this has improved business efficiency while greatly reducing the risk of him being paid with counterfeit notes'.
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