More than 1,400 outlets run by well-known Hong Kong retail chains have joined an Alipay Wallet Chinese New Year promotion as the mobile-payments app provider encourages more mainland tourists to use their phones while on holiday to pay for goods and services.
Hong Kong retailers participating in the Feb. 18-25 promotion include cosmetics chain Bonjour, snack vendor Aji Ichiban, glasses retailer Optical 88, consumer electronics dealer Broadway, and I.T apparel stores, among others. Retailers will be offering 50 percent discounts worth up to RMB 100 for one-time purchases made using Alipay Wallet, according to the company. Restaurants and convenience stores including Circle K are also offering 50 percent discounts with potential savings of up to RMB 20.
Hong Kong businesses typically see a jump tourists from the mainland during the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday. A recent survey by Chinese travel portal ly.com found that two out of every five Chinese tourists plan to spend the holiday overseas thanks to looser visa policies, and Hong Kong is among the top destinations.
Alipay Wallet's promotion is a way to attract more customers into stores by offering “a secure and convenient shopping experience for the mainland traveler in Hong Kong,” said Teddy Lui, Alipay general manager for Hong Kong and Macau.
When overseas, Alipay Wallet users can electronically pay in renminbi at participating physical stores with the app.
Alipay Wallet is the most popular mobile-payments app in China, which gives retailers outside the mainland who accept payments through the app a marketing channel for reaching the growing ranks of Chinese tourists, Lui said.
For example, through Alipay Wallet, merchants can offer targeted promotions to tourists planning to visit Hong Kong before they leave home. An in-app function called Service Counter offers additional functions, such as location-based services and membership programs, that help merchants boost their interactions with customers both online and in physical shops, Lui said.
Last year, more than 100 million mainlanders went abroad on holiday, according to the China National Tourism Administration. Mainland tourists typically spend heavily on brand-name products that are either not widely available in China or are cheaper overseas, goods such as cosmetics and luxury items.
E-payments provider Alipay and Alipay Wallet, both subsidiaries of Alibaba Group-related Ant Financial Services Group, have in recent months been trying to ride this tourism wave by expanding so-called O2O (online-to-offline) services in popular Asian travel destinations. In December, for example, the companies announced Alipay Wallet could be used to purchase stored-value cards for local transportation in Singapore, Thailand and Macau.