LIVE FROM MONEY 2020 EUROPE, COPENHAGEN: Chinese giant Alipay plans to replicate the domestic shopping and payment experience of Chinese consumers when they are travelling in France, Germany and the UK.
What the firm dubs its payment and lifestyle platform will launch in Europe this summer. Sabrina Peng, president of Alipay International, gave an indication of the size of the market, saying a total of 117 million Chinese tourists travelled abroad spending $165 billion in 2014.
“That’s like a moving country. It gave us inspiration. We want to bring our platform to the world, not just China,” said Peng. And Chinese tourism is booming, as the country becomes more affluent. The number of travellers is forecast to reach 234 million by 2020.
The idea is to reach these travellers with the same services as they experience with the Alipay app at home, including reviews, offers and coupons, as well as payments.
Simplifying the experience for this demographic by giving them access to the app when abroad will likely increase their consumption, which should be good news for European retailers.
Alipay is also launching a local services platform within its app in May which will customise the user’s experience based on their location. They will be able to see a description and review of the shops and restaurants near them via a bilingual interactive map, and receive location-based offers and coupons.
The company wants to leverage this platform to collaborate with European payment firms and content service providers to provide localised services.
Among its existing partners are Wirecard and PrestaShop. Alipay announced a partnership with Wirecard in November which allows Chinese users to pay with their smartphone and Alipay app at authorised point-of-sales in Europe by using integrated barcode payment functionality from the German vendor, without incurring currency exchange fees.