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Mastercard and Ant Group Expand Digital Payment Program to Western China

Thursday, 04/07/2024 | 17:15 GMT by Jared Kirui

  • The partnership aims to improve digital payment services for international travelers visiting Chengdu and Chongqing.
  • The digital payment program targets over 60 shopping areas, tourist spots, airports, and railway stations.

chinese flag

Ant Group, in partnership with Mastercard, several international partners of Alipay+, and other card organizations, has expanded its payment support program to Chengdu and Chongqing. This step aims to offer digital payment services for international travelers visiting Western China.

Targeting Payment Services for International Visitors

This initiative reportedly comes amid a notable increase in inbound tourism, driven by the region’s cultural attractions and growing trade links. The program, dubbed the International Consumer Friendly Zones, was initially launched in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. It aims to cater to the rising influx of international visitors in Chengdu and Chongqing.

These cities, renowned for their cultural heritage and economic significance, have reportedly experienced an increase in foreign arrivals, reflecting their popularity among global travelers. With support from local government bodies, over 60 key shopping areas, tourist hotspots, international airports, and high-speed railway stations will be equipped with enhanced digital payment signage.

Ant Group, Mastercard, and Partners Extend International Consumer Friendly Zones Program to Facilitate Inbound Travel to China https://t.co/AmAvhTL7ey pic.twitter.com/mHYnd1mTPV

โ€” Latest News from Business Wire (@NewsFromBW) July 3, 2024

According to the press release, Chengdu, which is celebrated for its giant pandas, has recorded a substantial increase in foreign entries. Similarly, Chongqing, known as the Mountain City of China, has also experienced a significant rise in international arrivals, boosted by initiatives like the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative with Singapore.

Boosting Tourism and Trade

In particular, ASEAN visitors have found these cities attractive, further boosting tourism and trade ties. In the first half of 2024, transactions via digital payment methods supported by Ant Group and its partners surged dramatically in Chengdu and Chongqing. AlipayHK, Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), and TrueMoney (Thailand) are some of the platforms used by ASEAN travelers.

Besides that, the number of merchants accepting these digital payments has seen a significant year-on-year increase, underscoring the growing acceptance and convenience of digital transactions. As China continues to ease visa restrictions and resume international flights, the China Tourism Academy forecasts a robust recovery in inbound travel, nearing pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

Commenting about this initiative in May, Fu Lu, the Director of Cross-border Business in Greater China at Ant Group, mentioned: “The introduction of the International Consumer Friendly Zones in Shanghai signifies a major advancement in our efforts to enrich the inbound tourism experience and bolster local business, especially considering the city’s critical role in China’s global interactions.”

Ant Group, in partnership with Mastercard, several international partners of Alipay+, and other card organizations, has expanded its payment support program to Chengdu and Chongqing. This step aims to offer digital payment services for international travelers visiting Western China.

Targeting Payment Services for International Visitors

This initiative reportedly comes amid a notable increase in inbound tourism, driven by the region’s cultural attractions and growing trade links. The program, dubbed the International Consumer Friendly Zones, was initially launched in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. It aims to cater to the rising influx of international visitors in Chengdu and Chongqing.

These cities, renowned for their cultural heritage and economic significance, have reportedly experienced an increase in foreign arrivals, reflecting their popularity among global travelers. With support from local government bodies, over 60 key shopping areas, tourist hotspots, international airports, and high-speed railway stations will be equipped with enhanced digital payment signage.

Ant Group, Mastercard, and Partners Extend International Consumer Friendly Zones Program to Facilitate Inbound Travel to China https://t.co/AmAvhTL7ey pic.twitter.com/mHYnd1mTPV

โ€” Latest News from Business Wire (@NewsFromBW) July 3, 2024

According to the press release, Chengdu, which is celebrated for its giant pandas, has recorded a substantial increase in foreign entries. Similarly, Chongqing, known as the Mountain City of China, has also experienced a significant rise in international arrivals, boosted by initiatives like the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative with Singapore.

Boosting Tourism and Trade

In particular, ASEAN visitors have found these cities attractive, further boosting tourism and trade ties. In the first half of 2024, transactions via digital payment methods supported by Ant Group and its partners surged dramatically in Chengdu and Chongqing. AlipayHK, Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), and TrueMoney (Thailand) are some of the platforms used by ASEAN travelers.

Besides that, the number of merchants accepting these digital payments has seen a significant year-on-year increase, underscoring the growing acceptance and convenience of digital transactions. As China continues to ease visa restrictions and resume international flights, the China Tourism Academy forecasts a robust recovery in inbound travel, nearing pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

Commenting about this initiative in May, Fu Lu, the Director of Cross-border Business in Greater China at Ant Group, mentioned: “The introduction of the International Consumer Friendly Zones in Shanghai signifies a major advancement in our efforts to enrich the inbound tourism experience and bolster local business, especially considering the city’s critical role in China’s global interactions.”

Jared Kirui

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Jared is an experienced financial journalist passionate about all things forex and CFDs.

  • 1040 Articles
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