Competition heating up to attract Chinese visitor dollar

An influx of Chinese visitors into New Zealand for the traditional Chinese New Year holiday period is seeing competition heat up for the Chinese visitor dollar, and a surge in interest for the smartphone payment app Alipay.

Christchurch Airport is leading a project which helps Kiwi businesses join the globally successful Alipay app - which has more than 520 million users worldwide - so they can better engage with the record numbers of Chinese visiting New Zealand.

Christchurch Airport's Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson says since the project was launched, more than 200 South Island businesses have installed Alipay and many hundreds more across New Zealand have expressed an interest in becoming an Alipay merchant through the airport's project.

"The Chinese New Year is the busiest holiday period of the year for Chinese travellers and we see a huge influx of visitors coming to New Zealand during this time. We now have more than 200 Alipay merchants around the South Island, with more signing up each day.

The next few weeks represent an amazing opportunity to capture the Chinese visitor dollar and hopefully start an ongoing relationship between the visitor and the New Zealand business owner," Mr Watson says.

Figures show more than 400,000 Chinese visitors come to New Zealand every year, with a large number arriving this week ahead of the Chinese New Year - Year of the Dog - which starts today Friday February 16 and ends on March 2.

Christchurch Airport's South programme is leading and promoting the Alipay initiative and has appointed Queenstown-based Alipay Sales Manager Luke Ashall to lead and promote the initiative with small to medium business owners in the South Island.

Mr Ashall says Chinese travellers trust and know how Alipay works, and research shows they are likely to spend 10 percent more per transaction with an Alipay merchant.

"We also know that being an Alipay merchant lets Kiwis do business with these visitors before, during and after their holiday here. Alipay keeps the customers in touch with these businesses long after the initial transaction," Mr Ashall says.

"The interest in Alipay has been ramping up over the past few months, and we've held seminars for interested businesses in almost every regional town in the South Island. We've been delighted by the response. I'm looking forward to working with businesses across the South Island as we grow Alipay's presence in the market."

To celebrate Chinese New Year, Alipay is also running a promotion where all users are eligible to deductions between 5RMB-2018RMB ($NZ1 and $NZ420) for their first Alipay transaction in the Chinese New Year period. Every user will have up to three chances to win across New Zealand, with other chances to win including cashbacks and prizes.

You can find further information and images here.

For further comment, please contact:

Jo Scott

Communications Adviser

021 883 123