World first portal for Alipay merchants

Christchurch Airport is introducing the world's first online marketing portal for Alipay merchants.

The airport's 'South' programme is leading the New Zealand rollout of Alipay, a Chinese smartphone app and payment system that has more than 800-million users. Alipay is rapidly becoming the most popular way for Chinese tourists in New Zealand to both find businesses and pay for products and services.

So far, nearly 500 kiwi businesses have signed up to join the programme under the 'South' project, which has Alipay live at nearly 2,500 locations across the country.

Project Director Ken Freer says the project has been so popular, the airport has developed an online portal for merchants, so they can manage much of their own marketing content within Alipay.

"Phase One enables merchants to sign up and manage their profile content on-line. Phase Two will let them manage their promotions to Alipay users. We're the first in the world to develop such a portal, so are understandably proud of the innovation," says Ken.

Alipay New Zealand's country manager George Lawson says the initiative is a blueprint for how a region can effectively market itself to foreigners.

"This South project has businesses working collectively to promote the South Island as a destination. The result is more tourists travelling to the region, travelling to more places within it and staying longer, which has a positive impact on the local economy."

Alipay is used to pay for everything from street food to luxury merchandise around the world and is a valuable marketing tool for businesses.

Ken Freer says any business wanting to do business with the growing number of Chinese visiting New Zealand, should become an Alipay merchant.

"The Chinese use Alipay more than credit cards. They trust it and know how it works, so are more likely to spend more with a kiwi business that accepts Alipay than one that doesn't. Better still, Alipay lets kiwi businesses talk and do business with these visitors before, during and after their holiday here."

Christchurch Airport signed a world-first partnership agreement with Alipay's parent company, Alibaba Group, in April 2017. This is the first initiative to result from that agreement; the second is a South Island store on Fliggy which will launch in coming weeks.

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