Briefing: Alipay launches ride-hailing mini program for Chinese tourists

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快看|支付宝上线境外打车小程序,首批覆盖10个国家33座城市 – Jiemian News

What happened: Mobile payment platform Alipay on Monday launched a ride-hailing mini program, allowing users to book rides in around 33 cities in 10 countries worldwide, including the US, the UK, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The mini program can be accessed inside the Alipay app and connects to ride-hailing platforms such as Grab in Thailand, Gett in the UK, and Careem in the UAE. The newly launched system allows users to interact with maps and text drivers in Chinese, call local police, and pay in Chinese yuan. According to Jiemian, the service will launch in more than 100 popular destinations across more than 20 countries this year.

Why important: The mini program is an attempt by Alipay to address issues Chinese tourists face when booking rides outside of China, including communicating with drivers and understanding non-Chinese maps. Mobility giant Uber’s Chinese business was bought by Didi Chuxing in 2016 after a fierce competition for market share. Since then, Didi has taken the top spot in China’s ride-hailing market (in Chinese). Alibaba does not compete directly, but, through cooperation with Hellobike, AutoNavi, Didi, and Fliggy, Alipay’s transportation services cover all aspects of Chinese people’s lives including road, rail, and air travel.