Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial announced that Alipay will soon support the smart POS network owned by Recruit Lifestyle, a subsidiary of the Japanese business giant Recruit Group.
That means Chinese tourists will be able to make offline payments with their Alipay Wallet when travelling in Japan, instead of exchanging for local currency beforehand and running the risk of Yen depreciation. Some travel information and special discounts will also be offered to customers who make payments with Alipay.
The payment method will be supported in an initial batch of 200 physical stores this October, covering several popular chain merchants like Bic Camera, PARCO, duty free store Airport Trading, and Umikaji Terrace. Recruit Lifestyle expects to introduce Alipay to all the 176,000 Japanese merchants that are using its POS network by the end of this year, the announcement added.
Japan has become a top travel destination for Chinese tourist thanks to matured travel industry and weak Yen. According to Japanese government data, nearly 2.2 million Chinese people holidayed in Japan in 2014, doubling that of previous year.
As a part of its global plan, Alipay is expanding quickly beyond its home market in mainland China to all main Asian markets including Korean, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as European countries and Australia.
In addition to payment, it also offers a wide range of different services from selling local transportation cards, scenery tickets and tax refund services.