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Alipay gaining popularity for convenience of Chinese tourists

To facilitate Chinese visitors, many shopping centres and convenience stores are installing the Alipay online payment system.

FamilyMart has linked up with Total Access Communication (DTAC), the parent of Paysbuy, to let Chinese shoppers pay in yuan at its convenience stores.
Wongnai Media Co, which runs a restaurant search and review application called Wongnai, is partnering with Alipay and TrueMoney to make e-payment via mobile applications available to Chinese travellers.
China Daily reported recently that Chinese travellers could now make purchases at Thai 7-Eleven convenience stores using the Alipay smartphone app at 9,000 Counter Service cashiers – with no transaction fees.
Alipay last October signed up seven certified acquiring partners – True Money of Ascend Group, Counter Service, GHL Thailand, a subsidiary of GHL Group from Malaysia, Kasikornbank, Krungthai Card, Paysbuy and PrayaPay. 
This caters to the trend of Chinese tourists spending here with their e-wallets.
“Chinese travellers need many things when they land in a foreign country, such as food, drinks, mobile SIM cards,” Jia Hang, executive director of global strategic partnerships at Ant Financial, the parent of Alipay, told China Daily last year.
“They may not have had the opportunity to exchange renminbi for the local currency before they have to make a purchase. Alipay wants Chinese tourists to enjoy the kind of convenience they are used to in their home market.
“We are also providing 7-Eleven stores with various marketing tools to reach their Chinese customers,” he said. 
Alipay is also considering launching a car-hailing service for Chinese travellers.
China has been the biggest source of tourists since 2012, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. 
Last year, Thailand welcomed 8.9 million Chinese and expects to receive 9.1 million this year, ahead of Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Laos. 
Despite the Thai government’s crackdown on underground tourism businesses and cut-throat “zero-dollar” tours, China is expected to remain the strongest source for arrivals to Thailand, Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has said. 
Chinese spend Bt6,400 per head per day in Thailand, compared with the general average of Bt5,690 per day, according to China Daily. 
Outside of Thailand, Malaysia’s largest financial services providers – Malayan Banking (Maybank) and CIMB Bank – are tying up with Ant Financial Services Group, which operates the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform Alipay, to enable the Alipay mobile wallet in Malaysia, according to Malaysian newspaper The Star.
CIMB Group said in a statement that it would act as a settlement and merchant acquirer bank, allowing Chinese visitors to pay for their transactions in yuan without concern about exchange rates. 
This is done through a simple barcode-scanning method that they are used to in their country.
Launched in 2004, Alipay counts more than 450 million active users.
Maybank and CIMB said the service would go live in Malaysia next month.
Alibaba Group plans to set up an e-commerce hub in Malaysia encompassing logistics, cloud-computing and e-financial services to boost trade and e-commerce in the region, China Daily reported.
Thai Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said recently that Alibaba Group was still investing in Thailand, planning to set up a regional e-trade centre and logistics system to link the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam markets.

Published : April 06, 2017

By : Somluck Srimalee The Nation