Ant Group, Mastercard, e-wallets launch International Consumer Friendly Zones program in Shanghai to drive inbound tourism to China

  • Program to support iconic travels spots, commercial areas, airports, taxis in Shanghai in enhancing payment experience for international visitors
  • Program on track to be rolled out to 16 major Chinese cities following launches in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai

Alipay+ payment signage at a Shanghai restaurant near the Bund highlights Ant Group's digital payment options for international customers. (Photo: Business Wire)

SHANGHAI--()--Ant Group and Mastercard, along with 12 overseas payment partners of Alipay+ and other major international card organizations, have launched the International Consumer Friendly Zones program in Shanghai, expanding the partnership aimed at enhancing the travel experience for global travelers and stimulating growth for local businesses in China.

With the support of relevant authorities and local governments, the program will see the participation of more than 20 primary shopping areas, renowned tourist attractions, both of Shanghai's international airports, key high-speed railway stations, and taxi services with a fleet of 25,000 vehicles in the city. Shanghai’s landmarks, including the Bund, the bustling Nanjing Road shopping district, and the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower, are also enlisted among the collaborative partners.

Ant Group now offers 2 digital payment alternatives for overseas visitors in China. Travelers can bind major international bank cards, including Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover®, and Diners Club International to an Alipay app to access a rich array of local Alipay services from shopping, dining, ride-hailing to public transportation while in the Chinese mainland, without needing a local bank account or phone number.

In addition, Alipay+, a suite of cross-border mobile payment and digitalization technology solutions under Ant International, enables overseas consumers to pay with their home e-wallets across China. Alipay+ now supports 12 leading e-wallets and payment apps in Asia for use across an 80-million-strong merchant network in China, including AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), (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).

Following the initial rollout of the program in Beijing and subsequent expansion to Guangzhou in April, Ant Group has been working intimately with partners to improve the two digital payment options' accessibility and ease of use for international travelers. This includes bolstering bilingual assistance and providing detailed user manuals. In Shanghai, participating merchants will also enhance payment signage visibility to clearly inform customers about the array of digital payment methods supported by Ant Group.

Amid rising inbound travel, spending by international visitors to Shanghai via the two digital payment alternatives by Ant Group between January and April climbed 13 times on year.

“The introduction of the International Consumer Friendly Zones in Shanghai signifies a major advancement in our efforts to enrich inbound tourism experience and bolster local business, especially considering the city's critical role in China’s global interactions,” says Fu Lu, Director of Cross-border Business in Greater China, Ant Group. Going forward, Ant Group will integrate more card organizations and overseas digital wallets for utilization in China and introduce new joint user campaigns.

Mastercard remarks that it is a great pleasure to join the International Consumer Friendly Zones program, enabling foreign travelers to make seamless and safe payments, just like locals do. As international inbound traffic to China continues to recover, Mastercard looks forward to partnering with Ant Group to enhance inbound payment convenience, boost consumption and build a more inclusive payment ecosystem.

About Ant Group

Ant Group traces its roots back to Alipay, which was established in 2004 to create trust between online sellers and buyers. Over the years, Ant Group has grown to become one of the world's leading open Internet platforms. Through technological innovation, Ant Group supports its partners in providing inclusive, convenient digital life and digital financial services to consumers and SMEs. In addition, it has been introducing new technologies and products to support the digital transformation of industries and facilitate industrial collaboration. Working together with global partners, the company enables merchants and consumers to make and receive payments and remit around the world.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global payments and technology company. We are committed to connecting and driving economic inclusion and digitization, making secure, convenient and smart payments accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Based on secure data and networks, seamless collaboration and commitment, Mastercard's innovative technologies and solutions empower individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses. The "DQ (Decency Quotient)" we advocate guides our words and deeds both inside and outside the company while driving the corporate culture. By connecting more than 210 countries and regions around the world, Mastercard continues to promote the sustainable development of the world and help everyone unlock their own "priceless" possibilities.


Martin Mou


Martin Mou