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Suntec City to launch Alipay payment option to attract more Chinese tourists

SUNTEC City and Alipay have inked a two-year partnership to launch Alipay payment terminals or touchpoints to attract more visitors from China to one of Singapore's largest shopping malls.

Under the partnership, approximately 350 shops in Suntec City will progressively roll out Alipay as a payment option for Chinese tourists. By July 2018, the partners plan to cover 60 per cent of the stores with Alipay touchpoints, they said in a joint announcement on Thursday.

Alipay, the world's largest mobile and online payments platform, is operated by Ant Financial Services Group. Last week, China's largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group Holding, said it would buy a 33 per cent stake in Ant Financial, an affiliate controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Payment through Alipay can be made simply by scanning a QR code, a method widely adopted in China.

According to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Singapore received 15.9 million international visitors in the first 11 months of 2017, during which, the number of visitors from China reached close to 3 million, a 13.1 per cent increase from a year ago. China also contributed the largest share of tourism receipts.

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STB signed a agreement with Alipay last September to cross-share relevant content about Singapore on Alipay's platforms and STB's Tourism Information and Services Hub, a B2B platform which allows businesses to contribute and access up-to-date information and travel services. This aimed to increase exposure of Singapore's offerings from various tourism businesses and provide Chinese tourists better information access before and during their trips to Singapore.

They also agreed to explore co-investment in joint-marketing initiatives to market destination Singapore and Alipay merchants with the objective of increasing visit spend via Alipay platforms.

Alipay, which first became a payment option in Singapore in 2015, is accepted by over 2,000 Singapore merchants, including Universal Studios Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore Zoo, department stores under Metro and Robinsons, and several hawker centers, STB said on its website.

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