Starting August 31st, Chinese tourists in South Africa will have more opportunities to pay via smartphone as Alipay, the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”, “Ant”), partners with Zapper, the fast-growing mobile payment, customer insights and digital marketing platform developed in South Africa.
This partnership will allow them to use their Alipay app to settle payment at 10,000 Zapper-affiliated merchant locations across the country. Chinese tourists will also be able to search for restaurants, bars, theatres, book shops, adventure parks and more through Alipay’s in-app Discovery platform, and pay for their orders in RMB via Alipay by scanning a Zapper QR code.
“South Africa is a must-experience country for Chinese tourists visiting Africa. We are excited to partner with Zapper, the largest mobile payment provider in South Africa, to offer Chinese tourists a safe and convenient payment solution and seamless travel experience,” said Rita Liu, Head of Alipay EMEA. “This cross-continental alliance is in line with a series of expansions into new verticals that Zapper has undertaken to diversify its services and further strengthen its position as South Africa’s mobile payment and loyalty rewards app of choice. These verticals include hospitality, retail, bill payment, e-commerce, donations, parking, fuel and convenience,” said Will Heygate, General Manager of Zapper South Africa.
This development arrives on the heels of the online payment service for “hop-on-hop-off” bus ticketing in Cape Town and Johannesburg that Alipay launched in June this year. According to statistics from the South African Department of Tourism, over 110,000 Chinese tourists visited South Africa in fiscal 2016, with a year-on-year growth rate of 38%. Tourism in South Africa has grown continuously for 7 years and comprises 9% of the country’s GDP.
The South African government has recognized the tourism sector’s potential to generate economic growth and employment. Through the Department of Tourism’s strategic plan – National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), the tourism sector is committed to creating a total of 225,000 additional jobs by the year 2020. With Alipay’s more than 520 million Chinese users and Zapper’s rapidly burgeoning presence within the global payment landscape, each brand is now better positioned to support this local strategy and to strengthen its respective appeal to both Asian and South African customers.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s largest mobile and online payment platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently has over 520 million active users and over 450 financial institution partners globally. Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app.
In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Over 10 million brick-and-mortar merchants now accept Alipay across China. Alipay’s in-store payment service is covering more than 30 countries across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 24 countries and regions. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travelling overseas and overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently supports 19 currencies.
Zapper is a South African mobile payment and loyalty rewards application that allows users to make fast, easy and secure payments in a matter of seconds with their smartphone. Through the power of QR code technology Zapper provides seamless all-in-one mobile payments, vouchering and loyalty services to a variety of businesses and brands from across the retail, hospitality, retail, bills, fuel and convenience and ecommerce sectors.
The Zapper application has been downloaded more than one million times since entering the marketplace. With more than 300 employees supporting its expansion, Zapper’s reach extends beyond South African borders, including the UK, USA and Europe; allowing for successful transacting across all major currencies. By using Zapper, businesses have access to empirically-rich data to better understand customer habits and encourage brand loyalty through targeted digital strategies that increase revenue and market share.