Payments giant Alipay is partnering with the City of Melbourne, using tech to promote businesses to Chinese tourists visiting the city.
The Melbourne City Card is designed to help businesses in the city’s tourist and retail destinations cash in on an important tourist market, giving a boost to the retail, hospitality and small business economy.
Through the Alipay app, visitors will be able to access an interactive map of selected tourist hotspots. Retailers will then be able to provide geo-targeted promotions for visitors in that area.
Alipay, the payments platform established by Alibaba and its eccentric billionaire founder Jack Ma, will also promote the card, and Melbourne as a destination, through its channels in China.
The initiative follows a pilot in Sydney, which saw a 20% increase in local payments through Alipay in the first month.
In Melbourne, it will run in key areas such as the Yarra River, Collins Street, Chinatown, Docklands and Lonsdale Street.
Susan Riley, chair councillor for the City of Melbourne’s small business, retail and hospitality portfolio, said in a statement a May workshop was intended to connect businesses with Alipay and support participation.
The card “helps connect Chinese visitors with boutique local stores, major brands and popular tourist destinations”, she said.
“Melbourne is a key tourist destination for Chinese visitors and the Melbourne City Card will offer them greater convenience and help them feel more welcome.”
At the same time as the Melbourne City Card rollout, SME bank Tyro is working on rolling out its own integrated Alipay solution for retail merchants.
In a statement, Tyro’s chief executive said the Melbourne City Card initiative “provides our merchants an opportunity to showcase their businesses on the Alipay app, [and] also celebrates the diversity and appeal of Melbourne as a destination”.