Thailand-based retailer Central Retail Corporation has joined forces with China-based technology provider Ant Group to launch Alipay+ at its stores, providing comprehensive services for international digital payments to enhance convenience for Asian tourists from Chinese mainland, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia and South Korea.

The duo said in a statement on Monday that users can easily make digital payments via their local digital wallet, including Alipay (Chinese mainland), AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia) and Kakao Pay (South Korea) without having to carry cash or exchange to Thai currency.

According to the statement, payments can be made across over 3,000 stores nationwide under Central Retail, including Central and Robinson Deportment Stores, Supersports, Tops, Power Buy, B2S, OfficeMate, Matsukiyo, Tops Vita and Muji, unlocking greater convenience and choice for tourists in Thailand.

“This partnership between Central Retail and Ant Group to launch Alipay+ in Thailand will increase digital payment channels for Central Retail customers, delivering comprehensive services to serve consumers who prefer cashless payments,” said Piyawan Leelasompop, Head of Corporate Marketing, Central Retail Corporation PCL.

According to her, the company aims to target Asian tourists travelling to Thailand, providing convenience for those shopping at brands under Central Retail via Alipay+ with their local mobile wallet.

Additionally, she said users can also receive promotions and special privileges provided by Central Retail and international mobile wallet providers, delivering next-level shopping experiences.

“There are also plans in the pipeline to expand payment services, accommodating tourists from other countries, including in Asia and Europe,” she added.

According to the statement, the launch of Alipay+ in Thailand is also in line with the increase of Asian tourists travelling to Thailand.

It is noted that for the first half of 2023, there were over 12.46 million international tourists with the top five countries including Malaysia, China, Russia, South Korea, and India, respectively.

It is also expected that the total number of international tourists will reach 25 million people within this year.

With Central Retail housing a wide range of leading brands and shops, Leelasompop opined that Central Retail stores are considered popular destinations for international travellers in Thailand.

Evidently, she said the number of tourists who shopped at Central Retail significantly increased in the first quarter, especially at Central and Robinson Department Stores located in key cities and tourist destinations in Bangkok and UPC, including Chiang Mai and Phuket.

She also said that sales from international travellers increased to almost 200 percent compared to the same period last year and 16 percent when compared to the same period in 2019 (before the spread of Covid-19).

“The launch of digital payment service Alipay+ will elevate the Central Retail ecosystem by bringing the best technologies and systems from around the world to drive inclusive growth for our customers, brands and partners as well as deliver next-level experiences for consumers in every dimension,

“This is in line with the Central Retail Retailligence strategy, in which we aim to drive leaping growth within five years and become Asia’s Next-Gen Omni Retailer,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, Ant Group General Manager for Global Merchant Partnership in Thailand Sittipong Kittiprapapong said that the partnership is considered important for Ant Group and Central Retail in offering modern and convenient services so international customers can make borderless digital payments.

Additionally, he said Alipay+ will also enable vendors in Central Retail to accept digital payments from Asian tourists as well as provide a convenient platform for international shoppers to browse products throughout their time in Thailand, delivering convenient and seamless experiences just as if they are in their home country.

“Alipay+ is a global cross-border digital payment platform and a marketing solution that helps business offer its customers more options for digital payment,

“We are committed to support businesses to connect with over 1 billion consumers across the region and the world via a comprehensive operating system that delivers ease and convenience,” he concluded.

Central Retail is a retailing platform that has has a network of 3,553 sales counters (as of March 31, 2023) such as department store, convenience store, specialty store, supermarket, hypermarket, and retail plaza.

As of March 31, 2023, Central Retail has a presence in three countries: comprising of 58 provinces in Thailand, 42 provinces in Vietnam and major cities across Italy.

Alipay+ is a platform offers unified global mobile payment and marketing solutions that connect merchants with multiple e-wallets and payment methods from different countries and regions by collaborating with global partners.

Alipay+ is developed by Ant Group, the owner and operator of Alipay, one of the world’s leading digital open platforms.

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