Malaysia Airports and Singapore’s Changi both step up efforts to attract Chinese customers

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In a two moves which underscore the importance of Chinese tourists, two of South East Asian airports companies, Malaysia Airport’s and Singapore’s Changi have partnered with a Chinese firm to make shopping easier.

Eraman, the largest duty free and travel retail operator in Malaysia, announced it has partnered with Alipay, the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, the company said via Malaysia Airports website.

Meanwhile Alipay and Changi Airport Group (CAG) also announced the signing of a strategic five-year partnership agreement, to roll out the Alipay mobile payment option in Changi Airport on a wide scale.

“A joint marketing agreement was also inked, for both parties to offer customised and targeted shopping and dining offers to Chinese passengers using Alipay,” Changi said in its statement.

Eraman will now be able to tap into 520 million Alipay active users of which 4.5 million are Chinese tourists who travel to Malaysia annually. These Chinese travellers visiting Eraman outlets will be able to pay with their Alipay personal QR code via their smart phone.

Eraman is confident that this new payment mode will improve the Chinese travelers’ shopping experience at the airports.

“Security and speed are important to us as we look to enable our Chinese travellers to walk into our outlets while travelling abroad and pay for purchases with the Alipay – just like they do in China. This Alipay in-store payment will act as the settlement, allowing Chinese travellers to pay for their transactions in Yuan without having concerns on the exchange rate. This is done through a simple swipe and barcode-scanning method,” said Zulhikam Ahmad, General Manager of Malaysia Airports (Niaga) Sdn Bhd.

“All Eraman retail outlets in KLIA and klia2 including duty free emporium and lifestyle stores began accepting Alipay in June 2017. However Eraman food and beverage and retails outlets in Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Penang, Langkawi International Airport and Labuan Airport have begun to accept Alipay since end of August 2017. In China, this payment system is a way of life for shopping and many other activities, and given the growing number of Chinese travellers here, we are hoping for a high uptake,” added Zulhikam.

Malaysia comes in third after Thailand and Singapore in terms of receiving Chinese visitors. With this new payment solution and the great retail offerings combined with the attractive tourist locations that they are able to visit, it is hope that these Chinese travellers will make Malaysia as top of mind destination and Eraman as their preferred duty free retailer.

Not that Singapore will give up without a fight.

“The Alipay mobile platform provides a brand new payment option to further enhance our Chinese travellers’ shopping experience here at Changi, while also providing personalised information and offers for their enjoyment. Looking ahead, we will continue to work with our partners to explore other ways to provide an exceptional Changi Experience for our passengers,” addedMs Teo Chew Hoon, CAG’s Senior Vice President for airside concessions.

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