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."

Justin Watson says Alipay is a great example of Chinese ingenuity.

"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.

Country Manager of Alipay ANZ George Lawson said New Zealand is uniquely positioned to capitalise on Chinese tourists' growing demand for quality products and experiences.

"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."           

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