ECONOMY

Alibaba's payment platform enters Turkish market

Alipay, the payment platform of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is commencing operations in Turkey. Following a partnership deal with the new generation payment platform ininal, Alipay announced its new services for Chinese tourists visiting Turkey.

In the process, ininal, a MultinetUp subsidiary operating in fintech (financial technology), has become Alipay's first business partner in Turkey. As part of the deal, Chinese visitors will now be able to use Alipay, Alibaba's payment platform run by Ant Financial Services Group, in Turkey.

The cooperation will be valid at the respective facilities of the tourism company Dorak Holding, which serves more than 85 percent of the Chinese tourists visiting Turkey.

The companies accepting payment with Alipay in the scope of this service include balloon companies, such as ones in the popular tourist destinations, shops, hotels and restaurants in Cappadocia.

The companies covered by the agreement will be able to connect directly with the Chinese tourists visiting Istanbul and Cappadocia via the Alipay application. In addition, customers will be able to pay by checking the Alipay QR code that appears on the card terminals using the same application during check-out.

As part of the cooperation between ininal and Alipay, that latter's users will be able to pay in Yuan during their visit to Turkey, while certain tourism establishments will accept payment in dollars.

In addition, within the scope of the agreement that will be valid in the existing and new MultinetUp enterprises, which include global chain restaurants and retailers at the end of the second quarter of this year, visitors will be able to make their payments in Turkish lira.

The companies also plan to bring jewelers, luxury clothing stores, museums and duty frees into the ecosystem in the near future to expand the use of Alipay in Turkey. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently serves over 1 billion users with local e-wallet partnerships. Working with more than 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution partners, Alipay currently supports 27 different exchange rates.

Commenting on the deal, ininal CEO Ömer Suner stressed that with a wide range of use by Chinese visitors in popular destinations abroad, Alipay is the most preferred payment method in China.

Suner pointed out that the Chinese show the highest increase in the touristic expenditures in Turkey. "We believe that this cooperation will increase the foreign exchange inflow to enter our country. In January 2019, the Nielsen report entitled '2018 trends of Chinese mobile payment in outbound tourism,' also proves this," he said.

"According to the report, instead of paying cash, Chinese tourists will make 32 percent of their transactions with mobile payments for the first time. According to the survey, almost 60 percent of the commercial enterprises are experiencing serious growth both in their traffic and sales after commissioning Alipay," he added.

"Alipay is finally coming to Turkey," Roland Palmer, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Alipay, said. "We know that our customers find the country's ancient and modern sites and many experiences from balloons to grand bazaars and beaches attractive." In the meantime, Turkey saw nearly 400,000 Chinese tourists arrive in the country in 2018, an increase of 59 percent compared to the previous year. Turkey has been carrying out different studies and works to further increase this number. Officials expect the number of Chinese tourists to hit 500,000 this year and eventually reach 1 million.

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