Philippines' SM Mall of Asia partners with Alipay to prepare for influx of Chinese tourists

The Philippines saw 1,255,258 visitors that came from China in 2018, an increase of 30% from the previous year.

The SM Mall of Asia in the Philippines has inked a partnership with Alipay to attract more Chinese tourists to the mall and improve their shopping experience with cashless payments.

The mall, which is currently the fourth largest in the Philippines and the 14th largest in the world, wants to prepare for the increasing number of visitors from China.

The Philippines saw 1,255,258 visitors that came from China in 2018, an increase of 30% from the previous year. This means China is set to surpass South Korea, which currently contributes the most visitors to the country.

In addition, more than 3m Chinese citizens have also taken up residence in the Philippines since January 2016.

Chinese travellers who use mobile payments abroad has overtaken cash with 32% of transactions paid for digitally, a joint report by Nielsen and Alipay previously found.

The report also found Chinese mobile payment methods like Alipay also helped to boost business for overseas merchants with 58% stating that after adopting Alipay, their foot traffic increased, while 56% claimed their sales improved.

People who used mobile payments were not only millennial Chinese travellers, but also those who are aged in their 40s, with 68% of the Chinese tourists that used mobile payment abroad.

Presently, more than half of the stores in SM Mall of Asia have installed Alipay payment system and the mall plans to complete the installation for the rest of its stores over the next three to six months.

“SM Mall of Asia is a must-visit shopping destination among tourists who enjoy the wide array of shopping and dining offerings and unique amenities,” said Cherry Huang, the general manager for cross-border business for South and South East Asia at Alipay.

“We are happy to partner with SM Mall of Asia to deploy Alipay acceptance points in the mall for shoppers who are looking for the best of retail and lifestyle offerings and the same seamless shopping experiences that they enjoy at home.

“At the same time, we are very excited to help merchants in SM Mall of Asia connect with tourists before they’ve even arrived in the Philippines through our platform’s marketing capabilities.”

Alipay previously partnered with Sentosa, a man-made island for tourists in Singapore, to help its merchants to go cashless to attract Chinese tourists.

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