Qatar Airways, Wirecard team on Alipay acceptance in Middle East and Africa

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China’s Alipay mobile wallet is now accepted by airport retailers in the Middle East and Africa through a collaboration between Qatar Airways and Wirecard.

Wirecard, based in Germany, worked with Qatar Airways to enable Alipay’s acceptance in duty-free shops in Hamad International Airport in Doha, where millions of Chinese travellers are arriving since Qatar last year eased documentation requirements for visitors, according to a Tuesday press release.

Qatar Duty Free, the airline’s retail division, operates 90 airport shops with 185 checkout points at key travel locations for Chinese visitors looking for ways to pay with a mobile wallet in their own currency, the release said.

Qatar has seen a surge of visitors from China since year, following its move enabling citizens of 80 countries to apply for an electronic visa online, versus a formal visa. More than 135 million Chinese visited Qatar in 2016, spending $261 billion.

“Our experience through the collaboration with other airport retailers have shown that in the first three months since the launch of the new payment method, the average amount spent by Chinese tourists increased by 92%,” said Robert Gottinger, head of airline sales at Wirecard, in the release.

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