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Astra Tech-Alipay+ deal: Chinese, South Korean tourists to UAE have it easy on payments

Deal with Dubai's Astra Tech covers 3000 UAE merchants, 7000 taxis in Abu Dhabi

The Alipay+ digital payment feature will be covered by more than 3,000 merchant outlets in the UAE. Tourists from China, South Korea, the Philippines and elsewhere will find it easy.
Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: More than 3,000 merchants – and all of Abu Dhabi’s near 7,000 taxis – will start offering Alipay+’s cross-border digital payment solutions in the UAE from this month.

This will allow Alipay+’s 1.4 billion plus digital wallet users to do transactions while on visits to the UAE, using their home e-wallets. They can do so devoid of any currency conversion needs.

Under the deal, UAE-based Payby merchant network can start accepting six Alipay+ partner e-wallets.

This would be for tourists from China, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Italy.

This comes as part of an arrangement with Dubai-based Astra Tech, which becomes one of the first in the region to launch Alipay solutions. Astra Tech already operates the Payby and Botim platforms.


"Our milestone collaboration with Alipay+ aligns perfectly with the UAE's commitment to enhancing the payment ecosystem and fostering a commerce-friendly environment,” said Abdallah Abu Sheikh, co-founder of Astra Tech and CEO of Botim.

Equally, expanding our fintech services internationally is a testament to our dedication to enabling effortless accessibility of payment solutions on a global scale.

- Abdallah Abu Sheikh of Astra Tech and Botim

How does Alipay+ work

The settlement processes and mobile-based transactions through Alipay+ can be done in physical stores or online platforms. The in-store payment process is simplified through add-on l options, where customers can scan the QR code at the cashier, enter the amount for payment, and confirm the transaction.

Or merchants can scan the payment QR codes presented by the customers on their mobile phones. This ‘addresses challenges such as having to exchange currencies, withdraw cash, and language barriers’.

“This partnership leverages the combined global outreach of Alipay+ and PayBy-powered versatile solutions for the region,” said Guoming Cheng, General Manager of Ant Group in Europe and Middle East.

Expand the alliance
Alipay+ and PayBy will expand the collaboration to introducte ‘mini-programs’ for merchants that could ‘further enhance their engagement with customers from Asia and Europe’.
An Alipay+’s suite of marketing solutions is expected to ‘elevate the retail experience for international patrons in the UAE’.

More tourist intake from China and Southeast Asia is one of the cornerstones of the UAE ambitions for the sector. Through this year, these arrivals have shown significant uptake – and sets the stage for some significant growth acceleration in the years through to the end of the decade. Between January to June, Dubai Tourism recorded 8.55 million visitors to the emirate from all source points.

According to third-party estimates, overall tourist arrivals in the UAE could see an increase of 4.4 million annually.