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Alipay on serving the Chinese consumer

If retailers and merchants in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) want to extend their customer-centricity strategies to include international travellers from China, then they must consider offering them the relevant mobile payment options.

That is the view of Tao Tao, EMEA business development director at Chinese mobile payment platform Alipay, who says mobile payment is the preferred method of transaction for shoppers in China.

Tao suggests merchants' key considerations when developing their respective market propositions should be how to create a compelling customer experience and provide customer value. In terms of what payment options to provide, he argues that success rests on how convenient and safe they are – and what a customer gets back in return.

Ahead of his RBTE 2018 appearance at Olympia, London on 2 May, he says: “Europe is advanced in terms of mobile payments thanks to the growth of contactless - Apple Pay and Android Pay in recent years - but in China the mobile is absolutely the centre of people’s lives.

“Everyone is conducting payment, social media activity and their work on mobiles, and we’re thinking China is ahead of the game in terms of mobile payments.”

He adds: “Mobile payments have taken a little more time to emerge in Europe because card payment is so well established, but in China mobile payments are in high demand.

“China has effectively jumped from a cash-only society to a mobile-only society. To a large extent, it skipped debit cards and went straight to mobile payments.”

Taking flight 

Airport retail operators are presently a major focus for Alipay, as it looks to expand its presence in the EMEA region.

In March, electronic payments processor group, Wirecard, announced a new partnership to offer Alipay payments for Chinese travellers in selected Qatar Duty Free (QDF) stores at Doha’s Hamad International airport.

The move aims to capitalise on the increase in Chinese tourism worldwide and sees QDF become the first airport retailer in the Middle East and Africa to offer Alipay as a method of payment.

“Airport retail is a very important scenario for Alipay,” Tao explains.

“For the Chinese consumer who travels abroad, the airport is going to be the first and last payment experience. We’re building the airport business across territories and there are now 12 airports across Europe offering Alipay, and we’re looking to expand on that.”

Tao will be participating in a panel debate on payment innovation at RBTE 2018, discussing new models of payment and future-gazing on the way consumers will want to pay for goods in the coming years.

Taking place on 2 May, the panel debate also involves Optomany COO Ian Rutland, Samsung Pay Business Lead George Greer, and independent consultant and moderator Mark McMurtrie.

RBTE takes place at London’s Olympia, 2-3 May 2018.

You can register to attend here