Alipay is a third-party mobile and online payment platform that’s owned by the Alibaba Group in China. It’s achieved significant uptake in its home territory, with more than 520 million users in total. Alipay users must have a Chinese bank account.
Accepting Alipay allows Kiwi retailers to target three main groups of Alipay users, says Neil Smart, sales and retention manager, Eftpos New Zealand.
The first group, Chinese tourists, are a huge market for retailers, especially those offering souvenir-style products such as skincare, wine and luxury products. Around 400,000 Chinese tourists visit New Zealand each year, spending over $1.2 billion annually. ¹
“Chinese people love coming here because it’s clean, green New Zealand,” Smart says.
The second group, international students hailing from China, are likely to retain their native banking system while staying in New Zealand, and will jump at the chance to keep using it. Over half of New Zealand’s student visas were given to Chinese nationals last year. ²
“Not only do Chinese love to visit here, they love coming here to study,” Smart says.
Finally, New Zealand has many permanent residents of Chinese origin who are familiar with Alipay. Stats NZ predicts the number of Chinese permanent residents in New Zealand could rise to a total of 370,000 by 2025.
Smart says Eftpos New Zealand’s Alipay solution is about keeping the user experience simple, and likens it as much the same as using a credit card: “We’re reimagining the point-of-sale device and making sure terminals are still the hub of payments.”
Signage and collateral at Eftpos terminals will be in place to help Alipay users get used to paying via terminals. Eftpos New Zealand channel partnership manager Luke Easton says payments in China have rapidly evolved in recent years.
“They’ve moved from a predominantly cash-based economy and they’ve leapfrogged credit cards to get to a mobile app-based place.”
This means the majority of Chinese nationals coming to New Zealand are arriving with a smartphone and using it for travel research as well as payments.
Christchurch Airport is offering free marketing support through their South programme to help Kiwi businesses make the most of the Alipay opportunity. Ken Freer, project director for Alibaba at Christchurch Airport, says that Alipay is bigger than just payments – it’s a highly versatile app that’s based on geolocation and QR codes which, among other applications, allows users to find goods and services that they need as they travel New Zealand.
“As part of that, every business which accepts Alipay can get what’s essentially a mini web page [on the app].”
Businesses can include any relevant information on their page, including video content, coupon offers and images. This information can help assist retailers in situations where there’s likely to be a language barrier in stores by advising shoppers on product, price and other important information. Businesses are promoted to Alipay users based on their previous purchase history, location and a search function within the app.
The South team helps retailers translate their information into Mandarin, manage their coupons and offers advice on marketing to the Chinese audience, all free of charge.
“It’s our view that this is the single best opportunity for retailers to put themselves in front of the Chinese traveller as they move around New Zealand.”
Eftpos New Zealand is offering a free webinar in partnership with Retail NZ titled ‘Grow your business with Alipay’ on October 23at 2pm. To register, click here.