HELSINKI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Alipay, a popular online and mobile payment platform in China, has established closer cooperation with a number of Nordic governmental institutes this week. The fact signaled increasing attention by the region to the Chinese customers, according to Rita Liu, Alipay's chief in Europe.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed Monday this week by Alipay and Finpro, an umbrella organization comprising sectors that promote tourism, investment and export for Finland. The aim of the MoU was to lay the groundwork for long term strategic cooperation to promote the use of Alipay in the country.
The world's largest digital platform maintained by Ant Financial Services Group also reached similar agreements later this week with Svensk Handel of Sweden and the Scandinavian Tourist Board representing Sweden, Denmark and Norway to enable merchants across the Nordic area to accept payment via Alipay and thus reach the Chinese customers before, during and after their visit via the platform.
"We have witnessed rapid growth of business in the Nordic," said Liu in an interview with Xinhua.
Cooperating with ePassi, a Finnish digital payment platform in Finland, Alipay launched a global shopping festival in the Santa Claus Village situated on the Arctic Circle last year. "And now Chinese are able to purchase souvenirs on board Finnair flights and shop in Finland's largest department store Stockmann using Alipay," said Liu.
Reviewing the brand's presence in Europe starting two years ago, Liu noted that a wide business network accepting Alipay has been established in Europe especially in major countries like Germany, France, Italy and Britain. "We are still hoping more brands known to Chinese will accept it in the near future in order to better serve the Chinese consumers," Liu said.
Every year, more than one billion Chinese tourists will spend their holidays abroad, and about five million choose Europe as their destination. Liu believed the number of tourists visiting Europe will increase in the near future.
So far, the main purposes of the tourists visiting Europe are shopping and sightseeing, but gradually they will start spending time and money on unique leisure activities such as snow sports, feature dinners, and other safaris. And in this process, they will prefer the payment systems that they are familiar with, including UnionPay and Alipay. Liu said people can even obtain more information and more discounts with Alipay platform.
Before the agreements with the Nordic governmental institutes, there were precedents including one agreement that Alipay signed with the Moroccan government. The basic intention was to support the access to Alipay and to provide better services to Chinese tourists at governmental and organizational levels.
Having the backing from the European governments manifests that the countries attach more importance to Chinese tourists, said Liu. "The Nordic governmental support is meaningful for us, and it also stands for a recognition of the Chinese payment systems by one of the most famous noncash societies," she added.