Alipay steps up mobile payments expansion in Australian stores

According to Tourism Australia, Chinese tourists in the country spend about HK$46,248 on average during each visit

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 7:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 10:58pm

Alipay, the Chinese online payments powerhouse, is gearing up to further expand into Australia’s retail sector through its collaboration with Quest Payment Systems, as mainland visitors account for record spending in the country.

Melbourne-based Quest said on Wednesday it had become the first payments technology provider to implement a large-scale, in-store roll-out of the Alipay mobile payments system to retailers in Australia, the sixth largest trading partner of mainland China.

The announcement followed Alipay’s reported expansion into Europe. Parent Ant Financial Services Group has said it will work with BNP Paribas in France, Britain’s Barclays, UniCredit of Italy and Switzerland’s Six Group to help establish Alipay, China’s largest payments platform, across the continent’s vast retail market.

In October, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Alipay forged an agreement to broaden adoption of the payments system for domestic consumers shopping on Alibaba Group’s online retail platforms, and for in-store purchases at Australian stores.

It’s simple, intuitive and ensures that the customer can see exactly what their purchase will cost in both Australian dollars and their local currency
Luke Fuller, innovation manager, Quest Payment Systems

Ant Financial is an affiliate of New York-listed Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.

Hangzhou-based Alipay, which first opened an office in Sydney two years ago, has had its mobile payments system enabled by Quest at select stores within Australia’s My Chemist pharmacy group, which runs the Chemist Warehouse chain.

Quest has designed software that allows the Alipay mobile payment system to fully integrate with existing point-of-sale terminals at stores, which makes it convenient for Chinese nationals, students and tourists to pay for purchases using their smartphones, and in their own currency.

“Alipay customers can now simply scan a code displayed on the screen of our QT720 payment terminal in order to pay from their mobile phone,” Luke Fuller, Quest’s innovation manager, said on Wednesday.

“It’s simple, intuitive and ensures that the customer can see exactly what their purchase will cost in both Australian dollars and their local currency.”

According to the government agency Tourism Australia, Chinese tourists in the country spend about A$8,000 (HK$46,248) on average during each visit.

It estimated that Chinese visitors spent a record total of A$8.9 billion in Australia during the 12 months to March 31.

Mark Finocchiario, managing partner of the My Chemist retail chain, said Quest has added the Alipay payments solution without the need to change its own point-of-sale software or buy additional hardware.

“We’ve been able to maintain our existing payment and reconciliation processes, minimising change for our operators and enabling us to offer this convenient feature to our Chinese shoppers,” Finocchiario said.

Kiki Wu, Alipay’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand, said the accelerated in-store roll-out in Australia will allow companies such as Chemist Warehouse, to participate in the company’s upcoming “12.12” event.

Alipay’s 12.12 shopping festival on December 12 is a global promotion that will offer in-store deals to Alipay users for shopping in selected stores.

In a separate development on the mainland, e-commerce giant Alibaba and China Mobile Communications Corp, the parent of Hong Kong-listed China Mobile, signed a new memorandum of understanding on Wednesday to deepen their cooperation in internet-related services.

Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma Yun and China Mobile chairman Shang Bing led the two sides in setting the course of their alliance under the central government’s “Internet Plus” policy.