International card networks partner with Alipay on major China drive with only days left to the Asian Games

International card networks, including Visa, Mastercard, JCB, and Discover® Global Network, are launching a new groundbreaking campaign with Alipay, one of the leading digital payment and lifestyle service platforms in China, to further enhance international visitors’ mobile payment and travel experience in the country on the 30-day countdown to the Asian Games.

The new campaign will run from September 15 to October 31, 2023 across China. Under the new intiative, overseas tourists can win the opportunity to earn a discount of up to 100 RMB per transaction when making payments with their Alipay account linked to an international card of Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover®, and Diners Club International® at Chinese mainland merchants within the extensive Alipay merchant network during the Asian Games.

What is the mission behind the initiative?

Since 2022, Alipay has partnered with international card networks to upgrade its payment service for international travelers. After downloading the Alipay app, overseas tourists can sign up and link an international credit or debit card from Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club to pay at tens of millions of Alipay partner merchants across China, including restaurants, cafes, tourist attractions, shopping malls, street stalls and public transport.

Recently, the Alipay app also updated travel services for international travelers to China. According to the latest Mastercard data insights, consumer spending has shown resilience with a continued focus on experiences and travel. Globally, during the 2nd quarter of 2023, cross-border travel was robust, reaching 154% of 2019 levels, up 6% from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, China’s inbound cross-border travel market is also improving.

“We are excited to partner with card networks, institutions and merchants on supporting the Asian Games. This highlights our commitment to building an ecosystem of digital financial inclusion that enhances the payment experience and drives the growth of local and cross-border commerce,” said Peng Yang, President of International Business Group, Ant Group.

Peng Yang, President of International Business Group at Ant Group
Peng Yang, President of International Business Group at Ant Group

“We look forward to strengthening this collaborative ecosystem through more cross-border payment innovations, SME empowerment as well as sustainability projects,” Yang added.

What does the partnership mean for card networks?

Shirley Yu, Group General Manager at Visa Greater China, commented: “Visa is glad to work with Alipay to provide in-bound international travelers with convenient and seamless mobile payment experiences, as the international tourism market continues to recover.”

“Visa is committed to enabling the acceleration of global travel recovery, which means more tourism spending in local economies, and more international people-to-people exchanges through travel and cooperation in sports, culture and cross sectors,” Yu further commented.

Dennis Chang, Executive Vice President and Division President, Greater China, Mastercard, said: “Mastercard affirms its commitment to the China market, as well as to its mission of powering economies and empowering people through its continued partnership with Alipay.”

“As travel and tourism rebound, Mastercard is delighted to work with partners to provide enhanced payment solutions that address the evolving needs of international travelers and enable cardholders to pay like a local, ensuring peace of mind throughout their journey.”

Osamu Hino, President of JCB International China, commented: “We are delighted to work with Alipay to provide convenient, secure and safe mobile payment services in the Chinese mainland to JCB Card holders worldwide. In the wave of digitalization, together with Alipay, we will continue to strengthen payment technologies and services, explore more possibilities in the payment area, and offer more convenient and diverse payment solutions to users.”

Chris Winter, Managing Director, International Markets, APAC, Discover Global Network, said: “By partnering with Alipay, the leading digital payment and services platform in China, we greatly enhance shopping convenience and accessibility for our cardholders worldwide.”

“Through this partnership, visitors can effortlessly explore the wonders of China, from shopping and dining to embarking on exciting explorations, while immersing themselves in the rich local culture. We are dedicated to ensuring that every moment of our cardholders’ stay in China is filled with payment convenience, enjoyment, and memorable experiences.”