80% of Malaysian Merchants Report Improved Business with Chinese Customers After Integrating Alipay

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Malaysia, with the tourism sector gaining significant attention following a mutual visa exemption agreement enacted last December. In response, Malaysian businesses have embraced Chinese brands and are increasingly adopting popular Chinese mobile payment platforms such as Alipay. This trend has made Malaysia a more welcoming destination for Chinese tourists. Whether it’s at the buzzing shopping hub of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, the iconic food paradise of Jalan Alor, souvenir kiosks at the airport, or the durian stands at Penang’s Night Market, the query “Alipay?” followed by a cheerful “Yes, sure!” has become commonplace, symbolizing a seamless transactional rapport between Chinese visitors and local vendors.

Caption: “Welcoming Chinese Tourists: Following the visa exemption policy between China and Malaysia that began last December, William, proprietor of Eagle Bay Seafood Restaurant in Langkawi, is optimistic about an influx of Chinese visitors in the coming year.”

Nowadays, Alipay has expanded its offline presence to over 70 countries and regions, allowing users to travel the world with just one mobile app.

Over 80% of businesses in Malaysia have adopted Alipay to accommodate their Chinese clientele

 Nowadays, over 80% of businesses are equipped to accept Alipay transactions in Malaysia, with the quantity of active vendors doubling since 2019. Harry, a tour guide in Kuala Lumpur, regularly recommends to newly-arrived tourists looking to exchange for Malaysian Ringgit, “You only need to exchange a few hundred Ringgit in cash at most.” This is because, from booking a ride-hailing service to patronizing the majority of shopping and dining venues popular with tourists, Alipay is readily accepted.

Caption: “Seamless Travel: An advertisement at Kuala Lumpur International Airport by Grab, Southeast Asia’s top ride-hailing service, showcases its mini-program on Alipay, catering specifically to Chinese tourists.”

Mr. Dang Kuok Siang, the Director of myNEWS, Malaysia’s leading chain of convenience stores, sees the availability of mobile payment options as a key competitive advantage in attracting Chinese tourists. By directly integrating with headquarters’ terminals, all of the over 470 myNEWS stores across Malaysia now fully support Alipay. With the revival of the tourism sector, the monthly average of Alipay transactions at myNEWS outlets has risen from 15,000 in 2019 to 20,000 this year.

(Caption: “Sunway Velocity Mall, a prominent shopping destination in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, now boasts nearly 80% of its merchants accepting Alipay as a payment method, enhancing convenience for shoppers.)

“Most businesses aiming to attract Chinese tourists will adopt Alipay,” stated Ms. Phang Sau Lian, Senior General Manager of Sunway Velocity Mall in Kuala Lumpur. “Alipay offers convenience for customer transactions. When spending is made easier for customers, they tend to spend more, which will undoubtedly boost our performance.”

Following Chinese Tourists Abroad: Alipay’s Outbound Travel Services Launched in Over 70 Countries and Regions

Since its global business launched in 2007, Alipay has emerged as the first Chinese mobile payment platform to facilitate outbound travel. Today, its offline network extends across more than 70 countries and regions, with over 8 million merchants and stores internationally accepting Alipay. The service is available across diverse consumption scenarios, such as dining, supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores, duty-free shops, theme parks, airports, and transportation services. Alipay also offers comprehensive ride-hailing services in over 2,000 cities worldwide and provides real-time tax refunds at airports and downtown duty-free shops in 40 countries.

(Caption: “On June 12th, Gareth Bale, a five-time UEFA Champions League winner, was featured on the “Outbound Benefits” homepage of the Alipay app to launch the summer promotion for “Fun World” 2024 cross-border travel. With the European Championship and the Olympic Games on the horizon, 400,000 European merchants accepting Alipay are eagerly preparing for the influx of Chinese tourists.”)

(Caption: “As the summer tourism peak season approaches, major international airports worldwide are collaborating with Alipay to launch summer discounts. In partnership with duty-free shops, brand stores, and restaurants, they are offering exclusive airport coupons on Alipay to attract customers.”)

Alipay+ Cross-border Mobile Payment Digital Solution

More than just a “+”

Alipay+ is a suite of cross-border mobile payment and digitalization solutions that connect global merchants with consumers by leveraging Alipay’s extensive technology and experience. It enables global e-wallets to facilitate seamless cross-border payments in the digital age.

“Merchants can offer customers more discounts and implement digital marketing strategies through Alipay, which helps improve their business,” said Phang Sau Lian. “Alipay has wide coverage and can be considered the best platform for advertising.”

(Caption: “Promotional materials at Sunway Velocity Mall in Kuala Lumpur prominently display the slogan “Use Alipay for Outbound Travel, Enjoy Better Exchange Rates, and Save More.”)

“Chinese travelers now have higher expectations for in-depth experiences and immersion in local cultures compared to superficial group tours in the past,” stated a representative from Ant Group. The popularity of mobile payments enables small and medium-sized merchants overseas, as well as hidden treasures and traditional neighborhoods, to flourish. They no longer need to bear expensive terminal costs; instead, they can securely and conveniently accept payments through mobile phones and QR codes. This accessibility aids in the global expansion of traditional cultures worldwide.

(Image Caption: At the 2023 Singapore FinTech Festival, overseas visitors can use Alipay+ services at the Ant Group booth to scan the code and purchase local famous tea brand “LiHO TEA” milk tea.)

Technology Facilitates “Dual Mobility”

Overseas tourists visiting China can also make payments by scanning QR codes directly

 According to the “2023 China Outbound Tourism Trends and Digitalization Level Survey” released by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the convenience of mobile payments has become a significant advantage in winning the favor of Chinese tourists.

Today, Alipay has covered the majority of merchants in Sunway Velocity Mall in Malaysia. Phang Sau Lian believes that this cannot be underestimated in terms of expanding customer base for a shopping mall or even driving the tourism industry in a region.

(Image Caption: In Malaysia, it’s not just Alipay; with the Alipay+ solution, e-wallets from various countries and regions can also make payments by scanning QR codes.)

It is also worth mentioning from February to June, over 2,000 tickets have been distributed to customers and users through a series of campaigns in different markets, dubbed “Goal Beyond”, together with business partners of Ant International including Malaysian e-wallet Touch ‘n Go.

Alipay not only enables Chinese tourists to use Alipay when traveling abroad but also offers two convenient payment solutions for tourists entering China: one allows users to download Alipay and link it to international bank cards, and the other enables users of 12 overseas wallets from 9 countries and regions to scan Alipay merchant codes directly for payment.

After the reciprocal visa exemption between China and Malaysia, many of Dang Kuok Siang’s friends have visited China. He learned that the Malaysian e-wallet Touch ‘n Go  can directly scan Alipay codes for payment in China. “My wife has chosen Chongqing and Chengdu as our next travel destinations. I believe that using e-wallets will make our journey smoother,” he said.

It is reported that in order to attract more overseas tourists to travel to China, Alipay+ has partnered with mainstream wallets in Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong SAR of China, and Macau SAR of China to simultaneously launch diversified “full amount discounts” and subsidies for traveling to China within their respective apps during the summer.