Ant Group launches program for International Consumer-Friendly Zones in China

Ant Group collaborates with partners to improve the payment experience for international visitors in China through Alipay+ and major card services.

BEIJING, KARACHI – Ant Group, along with 11 overseas payment partners of Alipay+ and major international card organizations, launched in Beijing a nation-wide Program to build International Consumer Friendly Zones across major Chinese tourist and commercial cities, with the support of relevant authorities and local governments. Working with local merchants, tourism sites and commercial districts, the Program aims to enhance international visitors’ experience and drive business for local merchants.

Ant Group now offers 2 mobile payment alternatives for overseas visitors in China. Alipay+, a suite of cross-border mobile payment and digitalization technology solutions under Ant International, enables overseas consumers to pay with their home e-wallets across China. Travelers may also choose to bind major international bank cards, including Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover®, and Diners Club International to an Alipay app to access a rich array of local Alipay services from shopping, dining, ride-hailing to public transportation while in the Chinese mainland, without needing a local bank account or phone number.

As part of the International Consumer Friendly Zones program, Ant Group will collaborate closely with partners to significantly enhance the accessibility and convenience of the two mobile payment options for international visitors. Emphasis will be placed on refining these services at locations most frequented by travelers, including key transportation hubs as well as tourism attractions, hotels, and shopping districts. Initial efforts will focus on expanding bilingual support, offering comprehensive user guides, and bolstering merchant training to ensure a seamless and welcoming experience for global consumers.

At the launch, Alipay+ jointly announced with NayaPay, Pakistan’s leading fintech platform, that NayaPay users will be able to make payments with their e-money account at Alipay+’s extensive network of 80 million merchants in China, as bilateral trade and visits increase.

NayaPay thus becomes the 11th overseas and 1st Pakistani payments platform to “roam” in China, following AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), Changi Pay (Singapore), HiPay (Mongolia), Kakao Pay (South Korea), MPay (Macao SAR, China), Naver Pay (South Korea), OCBC Digital (Singapore), Toss Pay (South Korea), Touch ‘n’ Go eWallet (Malaysia), and TrueMoney (Thailand).

To welcome overseas travelers, Ant Group, in collaboration with partners, has been rolling out extensive merchant and consumer education and marketing campaigns.

Danish A. Lakhani, CEO of NayaPay, said Today marks a monumental milestone in the commercial relationship between China and Pakistan as we witness the establishment of the first direct payment channels between our two nations. This groundbreaking development is made possible through the collaborative efforts of Ant Group, NUCC, and NayaPay, under the auspices of the People’s Bank of China and the State Bank of Pakistan. This achievement not only paves the way for a new era of financial transactions but also symbolizes joint innovation between our nations.”

YIN Xiaolong, Vice President, General Manager at Visa mainland China, said “As the trusted engine of the commerce, Visa is committed to collaborating with partners to improve payment experience for international tourists. They can choose the ways to pay with Visa in accordance with their preferences and needs, no matter using international cards, local e-wallets or cash. We believe the convenient and seamless payment experience will boost economies where individuals, businesses and communities can thrive and promote people-to-people exchanges.” 

Chao Zhan, Vice President of NUCC of China (NetsUnion Clearing Corporation), said that “NUCC will actively provide interconnection clearing support for mobile payment services by market institutions both from home and abroad. Going forward, we will enhance our efforts in three aspects: improving the business continuity of binding international cards to domestic payment apps, making more overseas e-wallets available, and increasing the scale of point of sales that accept mobile payment services for international visitors.”

Jake Xue, General Manager, Global Business Services, Ant Group, said “Seamless payment and consumer experience is critical for international travel as well as for broader cultural and economic exchange. Building on the International Consumer Friendly Zones program and more travel innovations, we will work with partners home and abroad to expand cross-border technology and service cooperation to support our new payment facilitation and opening initiatives.” 

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.