Uber China on Monday announced a partnership with Alibaba-backed Ant Financial to offer a cross-border payment solution to Uber riders from mainland China taking trips overseas. The service will initially be launched in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan prior to Lunar New Year, and will be extended to more regions around the world this year.
According to the China National Tourism Administration, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are among the top ten destinations for Chinese travellers. The Chinese Tourism Acadamy estimated that tourists from mainland China made 120 million outbound trips in 2015. Uber and Alipay said that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are key markets for them. The two companies have witnessed strong user growth in the Macau market since their entry into Macau in 2015.
Eric Alexander, Head of Business for Uber Asia, said the partnership with Alipay will help bring the convenience of the payment platform to users internationally. “As the only truly global ridesharing platform, we are increasingly seeing very strong demand from mainland Chinese riders using Uber in other markets internationally, and this partnership enables us to provide these travellers with a more convenient, hassle-free payment solution,” he said.
Uber riders have been able to use Alipay to pay for their rides in mainland China since 2014. The new partnership with Alipay will allow Uber riders to pay for their international rides in RMB using their Alipay accounts, instead of using dual currency credit cards or currency conversion.
Last Thursday Uber China announced a partnership with China’s Expedia Ctrip to provide services for travellers during Lunar New Year. Uber riders will get access to Ctrip’s VIP lounges at airports and train stations in 22 Chinese cities.
Alipay is the world‘s largest third-party payment platform, with over 400 million active registered users in China. Alipay previously announced that it will partner with Uber‘s Open API initiative.
Uber is the most widely used ride-hailing app in the world, serving around 400 cities across 68 countries and regions. In China, Uber is currently active in 37 cities, and plans to expand to 55 by the end of this February.
Uber’s top rival in China, Didi Kuadi, has invested in Uber’s U.S. rival Lyft. Didi and Lyft are speeding up their integration and plan to release the integrated service in the first half of 2016.