Chinese tech giant Tencent inks deal with Dubai officials to promote smart tourism

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MoU signing ceremony between Dubai Tourism and Tencent
MoU signing ceremony between Dubai Tourism and Tencent

Tencent, the tech conglomerate responsible for WeChat and other top mobile apps, has signed a deal with Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing to spearhead smart tourism and enhance Dubai’s reputation as a preferred destination.

Part of the US$500 billion club, Tencent is a major internet value-added service provider in China which owns the popular WeChat and Weixin (for mainland users) among other top mobile applications. It’s the biggest tech group in the country – think Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all rolled into one – run by the wealthiest man in China, Ma Huateng aka Pony Ma.

Poshu Yeung, vice president of Tencent International Business Group (IBG), and Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), signed the MoU as a continued commitment to promoting Dubai tourism.

Through the partnership, DCTCM will make use of Tencent’s expertise in consumer engagement and aim to further elevate marketing outreach efforts to Chinese consumers. Tencent will enhance Chinese visitors’ travel experience in Dubai through its digital platforms in China, as well as give insights via WeChat, of travellers’ consumption behaviour.

Dubai is Tencent’s first strategic partner in the Middle East, an important flagship city in promoting smart tourism.

A Chinese boy playing a mobile game inside the WeChat app

Poshu Yeung, VP of Tencent IBG, commented on the partnership: “Harnessing Tencent’s technologies and platforms, and utilizing Dubai Tourism’s local influence and network, this partnership will further build the success of our collaboration with Dubai Tourism to promote this unique city. We look forward to enhancing overseas travel experience in Dubai with local partners and driving the tourism industry along the Belt and Road.”

As of the first quarter of 2018, WeChat and Weixin have a total of more than 1.04 billion active monthly users and this will offer Dubai Tourism an excellent platform to reach out to Chinese travellers. Tencent IBG’s Social Ad Solutions will enable it to optimise the return on media investments and reach out to the key target audience segments.

Issam Kazim, CEO of DCTCM, commented: “Dubai is increasingly winning the hearts of Chinese tourists as a thrilling and exotic destination. We at Dubai Tourism are excited to strengthen our relationship with Tencent to further utilize its hugely popular and respected platforms.”

China pavilion at Global Village in Dubai
China pavilion at Global Village in Dubai

WeChat’s relationship with Dubai Tourism started in November 2017 when it rolled out the CityExperience Mini Programme (much like the Helsinki mini programme launched in February with the City of Helsinki). The programme could be enhanced with Tencent Cloud’s suite of smart travel solutions to provide functions such as AI-powered (Artificial Intelligence) customer service, which will continue to incorporate advanced offerings such as cloud computing, IoT (Internet of Things), AI and big data to work towards a Smart Dubai.

Kazim added: “Our ongoing partnership to build affinity with our Chinese target audiences has been overwhelmingly successful. Through the extension of our agreement, Chinese travellers will receive targeted social feeds about our city’s offerings and enjoy a more immersive discovery of Dubai.”

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