SINGAPORE -- Ant Financial Services Group, the online payment arm of China's e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Tourism Board to improve the overall Singapore experience for tourists from China, who are visiting in increasing numbers.
Alipay and STB will share relevant and up-to-date content about Singapore through Alipay's platforms and STB's Tourism Information and Services Hub, a digital content and distribution platform. The aim is "to increase exposure of Singapore's offerings from various tourism businesses" and to provide Chinese tourists with access to better information before and during their visits.
The two companies will work on data and analytics relating to Chinese travel trends in Singapore with local tourism stakeholders, and then direct visitors to relevant experiences and products. Both parties will explore investments in joint initiatives to market Singapore as a destination and to promote Alipay merchants.
"This collaboration forms part of our overall strategy to better engage our visitors through digital channels," said Quek Choon Yang, STB's chief technology officer. He said the partnership will improve understanding of visitors from China, and "increase overall visitor satisfaction, increase tourism receipts, and drive repeat visits."
The growing number of Chinese tourists has become increasingly important to Singapore's tourism industry. Last year, they were the largest spenders and contributed the most to tourism receipts -- around $2.8 billion Singapore dollars ($2 billion) from January to September alone. There were about 1.9 million Chinese arrivals from January to July this year, a 7% increase on 2016.
To meet the data needs of Chinese tourists, StarHub, Singapore's second-largest telco, joined hands with China's messaging app WeChat to launch a new SIM card that offers travelers unlimited WeChat messages during their stay.