Vodafone targets Chinese tourists with Alipay deal

Vodafone has joined a growing number of Australian retailers that are promoting their products and accepting payments through the popular Chinese payment app, Alipay.

The partnership, announced on Tuesday, comes amidst staggering growth in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia.

Earlier this year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that Chinese tourists for the first time outnumbered Kiwi tourists in Australia. 2017-18 was the eighth straight year of double-digit increases in the number of travellers from China, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ International Airline ­Activity report.

Retailers have long sought to capture a portion of these tourism dollars by providing signage in Mandarin or Cantonese, hiring native speakers to serve customers, scheduling promotions around Chinese holidays and, indeed, accepting preferred payment methods, such as the QR-code-based Alipay.

Vodafone on Tuesday said that it had switched on Alipay acceptance nationwide after a successful testing period. Customers can now use the app to pay at 110 stores, including stores in each of Vodafone’s international airport locations, where it is targeting Chinese visitors who want to access local mobile services shortly after touching down.

The company said it would also utilise Alipay’s in-app marketing functionality to promote pre-paid sim cards to Chinese nationals on holiday or travelling for business. The first of these promotions is now live and has already reportedly been redeemed over 5000 times.

Vodafone claims to be the first major telecommunications company to sign an agreement with Alipay, a subsidiary of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which claims that over 10,000 merchants in Australia accept Alipay payments.

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