Sydney to host Alipay global pilot program
Alipay, the world's leading mobile payment and lifestyle platform, and Tourism Australia have announced Sydney will be the pilot city for a new service to promote leading tourist and retail destinations to Chinese tourists, for the Chinese New Year festive period.
The Sydney City Card will introduce Chinese tourists to sights and activities in hotspots around the city, and provides special geotargeted promotions in key areas such as The Rocks, Darling Harbour, the Sydney Fish Market, Sydney Airport, Westfield Sydney, and Sydney Chinatown.
The interactive mobile map will operate through the Alipay app, which together with its regional partners has more than one billion users worldwide. In Australia, tens of thousands of merchants accept Alipay, with more than one hundred leading retailers and tourist destinations such as BridgeClimb Sydney, the Sydney Aquarium, and Captain Cook Cruises involved in the Sydney City Card pilot.
The pilot program will run for 12 months, and launches ahead of the Chinese New Year week-long holiday in February, which will see 400 million Chinese travel including 7 million heading overseas – with Australia among the leading destinations.
Country Manager of Alipay, Australia and New Zealand, George Lawson said: “The Sydney City Card pilot is an innovative approach to engaging with our largest tourist market, and provides Australia with a critical advantage over other regional tourist hotspots during this peak annual travel period.”
“Chinese tourists will be able to access recommendations on what to see, where to shop and how to get around, all within an app they are familiar with and while being offered their preferred payment method around the city. Providing this tailored and convenient customer experience is critical to maintaining and enhancing Australia’s reputation as a leading international tourist destination for Chinese travellers.”
Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan said: “Lunar New Year is an increasingly important time of the year for Australian tourism. We’re seeing more and more of China’s emerged and emerging high value travellers looking to use this key holiday break as an opportunity to travel overseas and to popular wish list destinations such as ours. Today’s new generation of free and independent Chinese traveller has extremely high demands of an overseas destination, and a big part of meeting those expectations is undoubtedly around convenience and being made to feel welcome.”
“We know the huge importance that Chinese travellers attach to Alipay as a preferred and trusted mobile payment system, and I have every confidence that the added value they’ll receive from the new Sydney City Card will prove hugely popular, by making the on-the-ground holiday experience easier and more engaging.”
A 2018 Nielsen study found 99 per cent of Chinese tourists had the Alipay app installed on their mobile phone. Alipay has also recently partnered with major financial institutions including Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Tyro, making its platform available via their proprietary technology.
China is Australia’s largest and most valuable tourism market, accounting for 81 per cent of the growth in tourism spending in Australia in the last 12 months , and for 27 per cent of total spend by international visitors. More than 1.4 million Chinese tourists travelled to Australia in the year ending November 2018 (YoY growth of 6.2 per cent), and spent more than $11.5 billion (YoY growth of 12 per cent).
The Sydney City Card program will run concurrently with a similar initiative in Queenstown, New Zealand, with the potential for expansion into other major tourist destinations in Australia and New Zealand in the near future.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s leading mobile and online payment platform. Over the years, Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app. In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Alipay’s in-store payment service covers over 40 countries and regions across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 29 countries and regions. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travelling overseas and overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently supports 27 currencies.