A Look At Alipay’s 2017 In Transport Payments

January 2, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

A look back at the year that was is often welcome, even when the new year gets started. After all, sometimes we don’t have all the numbers until after the year concludes. Our friends out at Ant Financial, meanwhile, dropped us word about Alipay’s 2017 in transport payments, and increasingly, for those who want a trip on public transportation, Alipay is the way to pay.

The Chinese mainland was perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Alipay’s movements here. Many public transport systems are located underground, which makes it especially difficult to connect a mobile payment system therein. That’s where Alipay could really shine, mainly by bringing in what it called “offline QR pay”, a system that allowed users to scan a QR code and have the transaction complete, regardless of the connectivity on hand.

The results were pronounced; the Hangzhou bus system started in with Alipay in 2016, and saw substantial profit as a result. While it used to take 300 to 400 individual staff members to count and record all the transactions, the move to Alipay has substantially cut that need. Now, Alipay is part of public transport in 30 different cities.

However, Alipay’s public transport operations didn’t stop at the Chinese border. Hong Kong, Macau, even Tokyo and Rome saw Alipay step into the taxi market, and airlines increasingly offer Alipay as an option for paying for travel. Helicopter flights between Nice and Monaco, five of the world’s largest cruise lines, a string of ferries, and even the in-flight shopping options of several major international airlines are all willing to take Alipay as an option.

With good reason, too; we know that the Chinese are increasingly tourist, and ready to see the world and shop when they get there. Being ready to accommodate these shoppers with their payment system of choice is just smart business; who wants to turn away potential sales because they’re not offering the right kind of payment mechanism? It’s no different with travel options; why turn away a fare because you’re using an unfamiliar or cumbersome system?

It’s all about improving the experience, and Alipay is working aggressively to make sure those travelers have a good experience. Businesses who want traveler money, meanwhile, should do likewise, and Alipay’s making that particularly easy.