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China's 2024 Labor Day Sees 77% Rise in Outbound Travel Transactions and 700% Surge in Inbound Spending YoY via Alipay

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Alipay's data indicates a significant uptick in both outbound and inbound tourism spending in China during the 2024 Labor Day holiday.

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The salesperson welcomes Chinese travelers to use Alipay for payment at Designer Outlet Roermond in the Netherlands (Photo: Business Wire)

Outbound Tourism

Transactions by Alipay users in overseas markets during the initial two days of the holiday saw a substantial 77% increase from the corresponding period in 2023, with total spending rising by 10% year-on-year.

For the 2024 Labor Day holiday, Alipay, an Alipay+ partner wallet, has joined hands with global merchants to launch extensive campaigns aimed at enticing Chinese tourists. Enabled by Alipay+, a suite of cross-border digital payment and digitalization technology solutions connecting global brands with mobile-savvy consumers worldwide, Chinese travelers can seamlessly pay for a wide array of services including shopping, dining, and entertainment at more than 8 million merchants across over 70 countries and regions. This convenience is all accessible through the familiar interface of their trusted Alipay app, eliminating the need to carry cash and the hassle of currency exchange.

Short-haul destinations across Asia continued to attract huge interest. Southeast Asia saw a 52% increase in spending by Alipay users year on year. Notably, Thailand emerged as the top destination in the region in terms of Alipay spending, while Malaysia showed the most impressive 171% year-on-year increase. In addition to these popular short-haul trips, Chinese travelers are increasingly using the extended five-day holiday to venture further afield. Long-haul destinations have gained traction, with North America, Europe, and Australia becoming the preferred choices for more exploratory and extended travels among Alipay users.

Specifically, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Macao SAR, Korea, the United States, and Thailand stand out as top destinations for Chinese travelers, drawing the most Alipay users. In April, Alipay+ facilitated users of 14 leading overseas mobile wallets and bank apps from 9 countries and regions to make seamless payment in Hong Kong from their home apps, enhancing the travel experience and contributing to the region's tourism surge. Japan has risen to prominence as an enticing and budget-friendly destination for Chinese tourists, largely attributable to the yen's depreciation. This economic advantage has been reflected in a substantial surge in Alipay spending within the country, which saw an impressive year-on-year growth of 164%.

Traveling with a lighter carbon footprint has become a new fashion. Alipay has been adding more ways for its users to get around overseas, like ride-hailing and public transport. In Hong Kong, the number of transactions for public transport increased by 63% year-on-year.

Inbound Tourism

Over the Labor Day holiday, international travelers spent 700% more year-on-year using their international card-enabled Alipay accounts at merchants across the Chinese mainland. The number of visitors using Alipay for payment from the 15 countries1 benefiting from China's visa-free policy updates since mid-2023 increased by over 4 times compared to last year.

In April, Huangshan Tourism Group partnered with Alipay to launch “International Visitor Friendly Scenic Spot” ahead of the Labor Day holiday. The initiative helps global travelers visiting Huangshan enjoy convenient payment options, including card, mobile payment and cash, as well as claiming tailored digital red packets for shopping discounts and check travel guide and tips in 16 languages.

In addition to using Alipay, overseas consumers can also pay with their home e-wallets across China, enabled by Alipay+. Since September 2023, the Alipay+ solutions have supported 12 leading e-wallets and payment apps in Asia to serve their roaming users across Alipay’s 80-million-strong merchant network in China, including 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), TrueMoney (Thailand).

About Alipay

In the digital era, Alipay has evolved from a trusted payment tool to an open platform that connects businesses, institutions, service providers, and other partners with consumers. Alipay enables partners from various industries to offer safe and convenient payment options. It also enables partners to communicate and deliver different digital services to their customers in China through Alipay mini programs, lifestyle accounts and other tools. The Alipay platform has connected over 80 million businesses with more than one billion consumers.

About Alipay+

Alipay+ is a suite of cross-border mobile payment and digitalization technology solutions that help connect global merchants to consumers. Consumers enjoy seamless payment and a broad choice of deals using their preferred payment methods while travelling abroad. Small and medium-sized businesses may use Alipay+ digital tools to enhance efficiency and achieve omni-channel growth.

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1 The 15 countries include France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei.

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