Alipay, the world’s largest lifestyle and mobile payment platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”, “Ant”), today announced that it is partnering with Merlin Entertainments – a world leader in visitor attractions.
The deal will enable Chinese tourists to use their Alipay lifestyle app across all of Merlin’s London attractions, including the Coca-Cola London Eye, London Eye River Cruise, Madame Tussauds London, SEA LIFE London and the London Dungeon. This will include making payments in their home currency to purchase both tickets and souvenirs. The visitors will be able to collect their e-coupon once they book their flights to London, and will receive a favourable discount on these before they arrive.
Working together, Merlin and Alipay plan to make Chinese tourists feel at home when visiting London, by enabling them to engage with brands in the same way they do while in China.
Through the Alipay app, Merlin will push notifications to help Chinese tourists find attractions nearby and receive tailored promotional information. Alipay users with higher membership level also receive preferential foreign exchange rates.
Alipay is available for Chinese visitors to pay at bricks-and-mortar shops in 18 European countries, while its tax-refund service is supported at airports in 76 European airports. UK retailers include Harrods, Selfridges, Holland and Barrett, and Heathrow Airport.
Tao Tao, Business Development Director, EMEA commented: “Alipay is focused on enabling Chinese tourists to experience seamless travel – from the moment they book their flight, through to their transport, shopping, eating and entertainment during their trip. We’ve made great progress in the retail space, with leading brands across Europe embracing the opportunity to better cater to the lucrative Chinese tourism market. This partnership with Merlin marks a significant step into the attractions and entertainment space for Alipay.”
Dominique Sidley, Global Trade Strategy Director Merlin commented: “Merlin Entertainments is dedicated to ensuring that all visitors have the most enjoyable experience possible. By partnering with Alipay, we can help Chinese tourists to feel more at home when visiting London and our attractions in the city.”