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Barclaycard partners with Alipay

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

19 Mar 2019

Barclaycard has signed a new agreement that will enable UK retailers to accept Alipay payments in-store, to help retailer’s capitalise and increase sales from Chinese tourists.

The move builds on a successful pilot over the past two years, stated Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, and will allow British retailers to take full advantage of the “growing volume and buying power of Chinese visitors”.

In a statement, Barclaycard reveals that in addition to the UK’s 393,000 Chinese residents and 95,000 Chinese students, tourists from China represent an increasingly important customer segment for retailers, with VisitBritain expecting 483,000 visits from China in 2019, up 43 percent on 2017.

Chinese visitors expected to spend more than 1 billion pounds this year, up 50 percent, moving it well into the UK’s top 10 tourism markets. The increase in market size is also demonstrated by the fact that the number of Alipay users in the UK has doubled in the last year, added Barclaycard.

Alipay is the world’s most-used app in 2018 outside of social apps according to App Annie and serves over one billion users worldwide, and the new partnership will allow UK retailers to capitalise on the growing appetite of Chinese tourists to use mobile payments over cash while abroad.

According to a 2018 survey conducted by Nielsen, the vast majority (93 percent) of Chinese tourists said they would likely spend more in a store that accepted mobile payments. In addition, among the merchants surveyed that had adopted Alipay, nearly 60 percent said that they had clearly seen growth in both foot traffic and revenue.

Rob Cameron, chief executive of global head of payment acceptance at Barclaycard, said in a statement: “Thanks to the significant investments we’ve made in our platform, our clients have access to a growing range of payment types, each of which can help them increase market share by meeting the needs of new customers.

“Our new agreement with Alipay gives retailers a vital tool to help them seize the revenue opportunity posed by the growth of Chinese visitors to the UK. At the same time, Alipay users will benefit from a more convenient and familiar in-store payments process – enhancing their overall shopping experience.”

Roland Palmer, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Alipay, added: “Alipay is excited to announce that it will be working with Barclaycard to provide visitors from China with the mobile payment experience that they are already familiar with. Through this strategic partnership, Alipay will now be able to offer many more UK merchants the opportunity to connect and engage with a growing number of Chinese visitors. This is another step forwards in our vision to offer Chinese tourists a seamless travel and payment experience when travelling overseas.”