September 5, 2018
Alipay, the world’s leading mobile and online payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”), today announced that it will collaborate with a wider range of local Japanese partners to build a cashless environment for tourists coming to Japan, in particular for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. This will allow the large number of visitors coming from China the chance to enjoy easy payment methods that they are familiar with and provide business opportunities for local merchants in Japan. In addition, efforts will continue to extend Alipay coverage throughout Japan as one of the most popular tourist destinations for travelers from China and other Asian countries.
"Alipay is dedicated to enhancing user experience and creating value for small and micro businesses through technology. The Tokyo Olympics and the hike in visitors that this will bring is a good target for us, to ensure that the Alipay platform is the bridge between inbound visitors and local merchants here in Japan. It is also important that we are collaborating with partners not only in the metropolitan areas and big cities but also in smaller cities with popular tourist attractions. We look forward to working with a wide range of Japanese partners to achieve this ambition, and in doing so contribute in some way to driving the local economy of areas across Japan," said Eric Jing, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ant Financial.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan continues to increase year over year. Close to 7.35 million people came to Japan in 2017 with a y-o-y growth rate of 15.4% (※ 1), and the inbound consumption from this group reached 1.6 trillion yen (US$14.3 billion, ※ 2). This trend is likely to continue and the Olympic Games in 2020 are expected to be a peak with visitors attracted to the international sporting spectacle as well as the country’s famous locations.
According to Alipay's statistics, Chinese visitors’ spending through mobile payment is also growing rapidly. From the beginning of July to the end of August in 2018, the average consumption of each Chinese Alipay user in Japan reached near 3,900 yuan (US$569). This average spending represented an increase of 52% compared with the previous year, and the total transaction volume grew by 165%.
Alipay is expanding its services across the country in Japan which reflects the needs of increasingly adventurous Chinese tourists. Specific collaborations to date with regional banks, such as Hida Credit Union and Kyoto Shinkin Bank, have allowed Alipay to make its payment services available in tourist spots and shops out of the major cities. To further expand its merchant network, Alipay is also seeking to work with more small and micro merchants by cooperating with local mobile payment platforms in Japan such as Line Pay and Paypay.
Alipay, which currently has over 700 million active users in China, was introduced to Japan to provide services to Chinese visitors at local merchants in December 2015 and is currently available in all 47 prefectures across the country. It is available in a wide range of outlets to support tourism including airports, department stores, restaurants and popular attractions.
※ 1: Source: Japan Tourism Board (JNTO) "Trends in the number of customers outside Japan"
※ 2: Source: Tourism Agency "Survey on consumption trends of foreigners visiting Japan" Heisei 20 (2017) annual value (Final)
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s largest mobile and online payment platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently works with over 200 domestic financial institution partners. Over the years, Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app. In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Alipay’s in-store payment service covers over 40 countries and regions across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 29 countries and regions. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travelling overseas and overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently supports 27 currencies.