The collaboration, announced in a news release Thursday (Dec. 7), is designed to allow for international e-wallet payments for U.S. retail merchants.
As part of the partnership, duty-free retail group International Shoppes, will be among the first merchants gaining access to Alipay+ and its partner wallets in countries that include China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.
“This partnership marks a significant step forward in expanding Citcon and Alipay+ services in the U.S. market, offering international visitors a convenient and secure way to make payments with their home e-wallets,” the release said.
“With Citcon’s expertise in payment processing, Alipay+ will be seamlessly integrated into the payment options available to U.S. merchants, empowering their capability to serve inbound travelers coming from many major Asian destinations.”
The partnership comes amid a recent wave of inbound travel from countries in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, something that Citcon Co-founder, President and Chief Operating Officer Wei Jiang says can benefit merchants wise enough to recognize the payments needs of consumers arriving from abroad.
As Jiang told PYMNTS earlier this week, spending behavior has shown triple-digit growth as pandemic travel restrictions have been lifted.
“It’s becoming important for the retailers in the U.S. to think about how they can embrace those payments,” said Jiang, “and welcome these travelers from the APAC region … and make them feel the way they do when they are spending money in their home countries.”
The challenge for merchants in the U.S, he added, is they’re using legacy payment infrastructure that has been around for decades and designed to accommodate home-grown payment methods.
And while larger retailers are now adept at things like offering payments via QR code, smaller merchants might find this sort of switch more challenging.
“User preferences are going to change over time — and the more consolidation we see, well, you’re still going to have a lot of consumer choice out there,” he said. “People are not going to run out of ways to pay for things.”