Welcome to this week’s China Ready Now Round-Up.
Last week, Commonwealth Bank signed a deal with Ant Financial Services Group, the Alibaba affiliate which operates the Alipay platform. The deal will allow Chinese tourists and students to pay for goods and services in the stores of CBA customers using the “Albert” point-of-sale terminal. For the 28,000 Australian merchants that use these terminals, the deal is huge.
It will give them a leg-up on the competition, as Alipay users will be informed of the location of Alipay-accepting merchants via the app. Alipay says that one million of its customers travel to Australia every year, so that is a lot of new potential customers. CBA and Ant Financial are apparently also in discussions on introducing geolocation services to tell a CBA merchant when an Alipay customer has entered the store.
The deal marks the first time an Australian bank has officially collaborated with Alipay. You would assume that the other major banks will follow suit quickly. Alipay is the most popular form of mobile payment in China, accounting for over 55% of transactions by value. There are also 2 million merchants in China that accept Alipay, and Ant Financial hopes to see a similar number of overseas Alipay-accepting merchants in the future.
In another first, Australia has become the first overseas destination to have a dedicated portal on Ctrip, China’s biggest travel website. This is a great achievement by Tourism Australia and reflects the high standing that Australia has as a destination for Chinese tourists. To find out how your business can make the most of that reputation, get in touch with us for a free consultation.
We hope you enjoy this week’s Round-Up.
- Commonwealth Bank is bringing China’s Alipay to Australia: The Commonwealth Bank has signed a deal with Alipay which will make it easier for Chinese tourists to spend here and for Australians who want to do business with China’s giant ecommerce platform Alibaba.
- Tourism Australia and Ctrip launch Australia Pavilion: Tourism Australia has teamed up with China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip, to launch a new portal, australia.ctrip.com, where Chinese travellers can access comprehensive destination information, get expert travel advice and book experiences.
- Asian tourist stereotypes: Making cheap jokes about Asians is not funny, Australia: This article by Ben Groundwater was a sobering read and should be a reality check for tour operators. With the face of global tourism changing, Aussie tourism players need to come to grips with some cultural changes.
- Chinese tourists misbehaving: The sad fact is, that when a few Chinese tourists do misbehave, it receives significant media attention. A story about a pair of Chinese men who decided to urinate on a tree in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens and then try to run away from police officers has been doing the rounds of Australia’s major media sources. Meanwhile, footage emerged of Chinese tourists in Cinque Terre manhandling live sea urchins.
- Russia Welcomes Growing Wave of ‘Red Tourists’ From China (paywall): Nostalgia for Communist past as well as capitalist bargain-hunting is drawing record numbers of Chinese visitors, who are taking advantage of a weak ruble, visa-free group travel, and the opportunity to retrace Communist history.
- Airbnb is finally taking China seriously: Airbnb has set up a dedicated web platform in mainland China, which will create business while exposing the company to tough domestic competition and information regulation.
- Alibaba rebrands its online travel arm to “Fliggy”: The rebrand is part of a decision to re-focus on Chinese millennials, according to Sina News, with the company confident the cartoon-style logo can attract the younger generation. The Chinese name for Fliggy is “Fei Zhu”, which means flying pig.
- Lessons from England’s Unexpected Chinese Tourist Attraction: Kidlington is a typical English village with approximately 14,000 residents that suddenly started seeing Chinese tourists flooding its streets in 2016. The town’s popularity reflects the desire by Chinese tourists to seek out “authentic” experiences.