Local brands lure Chinese travellers through m-commerce

Grab and Ant Financial Services Group, the parent company of Alipay, have partnered up to provide a cross-border payment solution to Chinese travellers visiting and residing in Singapore and Thailand.

This means Alipay users can pay for their taxi and private-hire car rides booked through the Grab app with their Alipay accounts. Prior to this, Chinese travellers paid for their rides either by connecting their dual currency credit cards or making a payment via cash.

With the Alipay payment option added, all Chinese travellers can pay for their fares in RMB, without having to worry about currency exchange. The partnership aims to make the option available in other Southeast Asian markets where Grab is currently operating in.

“We are constantly looking at ways to improve our app experience for local and international users. Providing multiple payment options that suit our customers’ preferences is a key focus area for us. Our partnership with Alipay allows Chinese travellers to use Grab to book taxis or private cars for a hassle-free way to get around the city – and they can use a payment method they are familiar with, go cashless and pay in RMB,” Joel Yarbrough, group product manager, Grab said.

“By collaborating with partners such as Grab, we provide Chinese travellers the kind of convenience they are used to in China – no matter where they are in the world,” Sabrina Peng, vice president of international business at Ant Financial, said.

Grab is the latest brand to jump on the bandwagon in Singapore’s effort to attract Chinese travellers to the island. Most recently, Resorts World Sentosa making a similar move earlier this year where Alipay onsite payment terminals were made available at more than 110 locations around Resorts World Sentosa.

Over the years, the local market has made significant investments to target the Chinese traveller.

Last year, in a bid to lure in tourists from China, STB launched “its most comprehensive suite of digital and mobile services for the Chinese market to date” which allows Chinese visitors to search for Singapore destination offerings, navigate Singapore and share their travel experience.

Meanwhile, in 2014, Changi Airport decided to partner with Singapore Tourism Board to launch a new travel campaign called ‘Rediscover Singapore from your Heart’ . A total investment of SG$1 million (RMB 5million) was been made for this campaign.


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