Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform operated by Ant Financial, has connected more than 300,000 Japanese merchants as of early 2019 with tourists from Chinese mainland paying through the Alipay app.
This was an increase of about 500 percent compared with the beginning of 2018, when 50,000 merchants in Japan accepted Alipay, amid a push by the Japanese government to drive greater adoption of mobile payments.
Japan is one of the most popular destinations for holiday by Chinese tourists, according to statistics compiled by Alipay, which is also working with its e-wallet strategic partners in other Asian markets to bring more consumers to Japan in the near future. Alipay’s e-wallet partners include TrueMoney in Thailand, GCash in the Philippines, kakaopay in the Republic of Korea, and Paytm in India.
Over China’s the four-day long Labour Day holidays in early May, Japan was ranked fourth highest among all the overseas destinations in terms of total Alipay transaction volume. The country also posted one of the biggest increases in tourist spending, with average spending on Alipay per person rising 25% year-on-year. During the period, the most popular merchants for shoppers were convenience stores, airport shops, and department stores, according to Alipay statistics.
More tourists are expected to visit Japan in the coming years and Alipay is working to help local merchants cope with the influx through digital payments, while providing tourists with the mobile payment experience that they are familiar with back home.
For example, users of AlipayHK - the e-wallet for Hong Kong citizens jointly developed by Alipay and CKHH - can now use the e-wallets in the Daimaru Tenjin store in Fukuoka, with the service expected to expand to the whole of Japan in the near future.
“Alipay has been providing technology support to our nine e-wallet partners to enhance their cross-border payment capabilities, and hopefully to bring more Asian customers to Japan and contribute to revitalizing the local economy,” said Eric Jing, Chairman and CEO of Ant Financial.
“We are dedicated to supporting small and micro businesses around the world through our technology. Digital wallets like Alipay are not only convenient payment tools, but also smart marketing platforms to connect merchants and their potential customers before, during and after their visits to Japan,” Eric added.
Nearly 60 per cent of overseas bricks-and-mortar merchants that adopted Alipay saw a subsequent growth in both foot traffic and revenue, according to the report 2018 Trends for Mobile Payment in Chinese Outbound Tourism by Nielsen. A separate report, Outbound Chinese Tourism andConsumption Trend: 2017 Survey, found that over 90% of Chinese tourists would use mobile payment while traveling overseas if they were given the option.
China is the largest tourism market for Japan, accounting for 27% percent of the 31 million tourists who visited the country in 2018. Tourists from Asia as a whole reached 26 million last year, accounting for more than 86% of Japan’s total visitor number.