Chinese consumers can now use Alipay at the Mall of Asia stores  thanks to a joint venture between Ant Financial Services and SM.

Technology to allow retailers to accept Alipay has been installed at almost half the mall’s stores already, with the rest to follow within three to six months.

Opening the way for Chinese to use Alipay at the Mall of Asia is aimed at attracting more tourists to the mall – as well as the increasing locally based Chinese population.

“SM Mall of Asia is a must-visit shopping destination among tourists who enjoy the wide array of shopping and dining offerings and unique amenities,” said Cherry Huang, GM, cross-border business for South and Southeast Asia at Alipay.

“We are happy to partner with SM Mall of Asia to deploy Alipay acceptance points in the mall for shoppers who are looking for the best of retail and lifestyle offerings and the same seamless shopping experiences that they enjoy at home. At the same time, we are very excited to help merchants in SM Mall of Asia connect with tourists before they’ve even arrived in the Philippines through our platform’s marketing capabilities.”

Since Alipay entered the Philippines in 2017, the number of Alipay acceptance points has grown exponentially across retail, hospitality and entertainment attractions. Aside from Manila, Alipay acceptance points are available in six provinces frequented by Chinese tourists, including Cebu, Davao, Palawan and Boracay.

According to the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry, international tourist arrivals to the Philippines rose by 7.7 per cent to 7.1 million visitors last year. China contributed 1.255 million of them, a growth rate of 30 per cent year on year.

More than 3.12 million Chinese citizens have taken up residence in the Philippines since January 2016.