Alipay+ expands its enablement of seamless travel experiences to Japan

J.L. Bonnier, President and Chief Executive Officer at Universal Studios Japan

Ant Group announced that Alipay+ has expanded its enablement of seamless travel experiences to Japan, where over 1 million local merchants are now connected to global cross-border digital payments & marketing abilities to better serve consumers worldwide.

What is Alipay+ offering Universal Studios Japan?

Universal Studios Japan is the latest partner with Alipay+. Under a joint agreement, the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka will introduce Alipay+’s QR code cross-border digital payments solution, which accepts some of the region’s most popular e-wallets, providing a convenient and smooth travel experience to international visitors.

Under the collaboration, tourists from countries including China, Singapore, South Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand can now enjoy the park –and elsewhere in Japan –with their phone only, using their preferred payment app just the way they do at home.

Alipay+ payment solution will be accessible at ticket booths, retail shops and restaurants within the park. In addition, Universal Studios Japan will tap into the Alipay+ marketing solutions to conduct campaigns, such as coupon promotions to attract overseas visitors who are increasingly digital savvy and prefer more customized interactions.

What do the executives think of the partnership?

J.L. Bonnier, President and Chief Executive Officer at Universal Studio Japan LLC said, “We are very pleased to welcome Alipay+ as Universal Studios Japan’s Corporate Marketing Partner. The government’s easing of border measures has paved the way for the revival of inbound tourism, and the partnership with Alipay+ has great significance.”

“It will be easier for guests from Asia to pay with their familiar mobile payment methods through Alipay+, & it will lead to an improved shopping experience, which is part of the park’s offerings. We would like to contribute to the reconstruction of the tourism industry to accelerate the recovery of demand for tourism to Japan with the park as a primary destination.”

Ant Group’s General Manager of Japan, Jiang Weixiao, said: “We are very pleased to have become a Corporate Marketing Partner with Universal Studios Japan and introduce Alipay+. Through Alipay+, we hope more visitors to Japan will not only enjoy a smoother and more fruitful shopping and leisure experience in the park, but it will also lead to more overall visits.”

“At present, the number of Alipay+ merchant partners in Japan, including tourist and commercial facilities, has exceeded one million. As Japan reopens to individual tourists, we would like to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises in tourism, retail, hospitality and other businesses in Japan to integrate Alipay+ as an opportunity to capture their purchase power and ensure a frictionless experience of more than 1 billion people in the Asian region.”

Why is this the best time for Alipay+ to expand to Japan?

The expansion of the Alipay+ easy travel campaign to Japan is expected to be well-received as the country has recently lifted the daily cap on inbound arrivals and resumed a visa waiver policy, amounting to a full reopening. The policy shift, which begins on October 11, comes after nearly two and a half years of entry restrictions.

The World Economic Forum’s latest Travel and Tourism Development Index ranked Japan as the number one economy enabling travel and tourism development. Other studies show that the country has seen a steady increase of mobile payment usage during the Covid-19 pandemic, as more people embrace contactless payments and digital lifestyles.

Through integration of Alipay+ solutions, over 1 million offline merchants in Japan are now able to accept various mobile payment methods across Asia and add marketing capabilities to attract and better serve international tourists.

Users of seven mobile payment platforms – Alipay, AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR China), EZ-Link, Kakao Pay (south korea), GCash (the Philippines), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), and TrueMoney – are now able to travel to Japan with their phone only, making payments with their preferred home e-wallets. The Alipay+ merchant coverage includes major tourist activities including payment at airports, shopping malls, convenience stores, cafes and restaurants.