Ant Group and Mastercard Launch International Consumer Friendly Zones in Shanghai

Ant Group and Mastercard Launch International Consumer Friendly Zones in Shanghai

by June 3, 2024

Ant Group and Mastercard, along with 12 overseas payment partners of Alipay+ and other major international card organisations, have launched the International Consumer Friendly Zones programme in Shanghai. This initiative aims to enhance the travel experience for global travellers and stimulate growth for local businesses in China.

Supported by relevant authorities and local governments, the programme will include participation from over 20 primary shopping areas, renowned tourist attractions, both of Shanghai’s international airports, key high-speed railway stations, and a fleet of 25,000 taxis. Iconic landmarks such as the Bund, Nanjing Road shopping district, and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower are also involved.

Ant Group now offers two digital payment alternatives for overseas visitors in China. Travellers can bind major international bank cards, including Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover®, and Diners Club International, to an Alipay app, allowing access to a wide range of local Alipay services, from shopping and dining to ride-hailing and public transportation without needing a local bank account or phone number.

Additionally, Alipay+, a suite of cross-border mobile payment and digitalisation technology solutions under Ant International, enables overseas consumers to pay with their home e-wallets across China.

Alipay+ supports 12 leading e-wallets and payment apps in Asia, usable across an 80-million-strong merchant network in China. Supported e-wallets include AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), Kaspi.kz (Kazakhstan), MPay (Macao SAR, China), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), Hipay (Mongolia), NayaPay (Pakistan), Changi Pay (Singapore), OCBC Digital (Singapore), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Naver Pay (South Korea), Toss Pay (South Korea), and TrueMoney (Thailand).

The launch in Shanghai follows the programme’s initial rollout in Beijing and expansion to Guangzhou in April. Ant Group has worked closely with partners to enhance the accessibility and ease of use of these digital payment options for international travellers.

This includes providing bilingual assistance and detailed user manuals. In Shanghai, participating merchants will also improve payment signage visibility to inform customers about the available digital payment methods supported by Ant Group.

From January to April, spending by international visitors to Shanghai via the two digital payment options provided by Ant Group increased 13 times year-on-year, reflecting the rising inbound travel.

“The introduction of the International Consumer Friendly Zones in Shanghai signifies a major advancement in our efforts to enrich inbound tourism experiences and bolster local business, especially considering the city’s critical role in China’s global interactions. Going forward, Ant Group will integrate more card organisations and overseas digital wallets for use in China and introduce new joint user campaigns,”

said Fu Lu, Director of Cross-border Business in Greater China, Ant Group.

Mastercard expressed its pleasure in joining the International Consumer Friendly Zones programme, noting that it enables foreign travellers to make seamless and safe payments like locals. As international inbound traffic to China recovers, Mastercard looks forward to partnering with Ant Group to enhance inbound payment convenience, boost consumption, and build a more inclusive payment ecosystem.

Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik