Astra Tech, a Dubai-based technology-focused investment company, has joined forces with Ant Group, Alibaba’s global digital payment platform, to introduce a groundbreaking service for tourists visiting the UAE. Starting this month, tourists from various countries, including China, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Italy, can now seamlessly shop and pay for services using their native e-wallets such as Alipay, MPay, Kakao Pay, GCash, TrueMoney, and Tinaba.
Facilitating Seamless Transactions: This milestone collaboration enables over 1.4 billion wallet users to conduct transactions in their home currencies while enjoying their visit to the UAE. By eliminating the need for foreign currency exchanges, tourists can experience hassle-free spending in the UAE.
UAE’s Thriving Tourism Sector: The UAE has been heavily investing in expanding its tourism sector, with significant success. In 2022, tourist spending in the country surged by 70 percent to reach Dh121 billion ($33 billion), making it the highest in the region. Credit cards the most commonly used method for e-commerce transactions in the UAE, closely followed by digital wallets, which account for 24 percent of transaction values.
Global Growth of Digital Wallets: According to Juniper Research, consumer spending through digital wallets worldwide has projected to reach $10 trillion by 2025, a substantial increase from $5.5 trillion in 2020. The partnership between Astra Tech and Ant Group aligns with this global trend, facilitating efficient settlement processes and mobile-based transactions through Alipay, both in physical stores and online platforms.
Simplified Payment Processes: Customers at physical stores can effortlessly make payments by scanning a QR code at the cashier desk, enter the payment amount, and confirm the transaction. Retailers also have the option to scan payment QR codes on customers’ mobile phones, simplifying the payment process further. These methods address challenges such as currency exchange, cash withdrawals, and language barriers.
Future Expansion Plans: Alipay and Pay By have plans to expand this service by introducing mini-programs for merchants. These programs expected to enhance engagement between merchants and customers, particularly those visiting the UAE from Asia and Europe.
This pioneering initiative demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to enhancing its payment ecosystem, providing greater convenience for tourists, and fostering a commerce-friendly environment.