Overall transaction volume on Alipay increased 25 per cent in Australia during Golden Week – a week-long national holiday in China – compared to last year’s corresponding week.

The growth was riven by strong growth in the luxury retail sector, and solid performances by airport and duty-free stores, pharmacies, and merchants in popular tourist destinations such as Chinatown and the Sydney Fish Market.

Australia remained the fifth most popular destination globally for Chinese travellers during the period, but growth slowed relative to markets across Europe and South-East Asia as tourists opted for an increasingly varied range of destinations including Iceland, Montenegro and Uzbekistan. 

Alipay Australia and New Zealand Director, John O’Loghlen, said that as Australia faces increasing competition for Chinese tourism dollars from other destinations, businesses should review their strategies for engaging with Chinese consumers.

“Our pristine environment, natural wonders and relative proximity to China have long-established Australia as one of China’s favourite tourism destinations, however, as other countries across Asia and further afar increasingly target the Chinese market, local merchants need to ensure they are rising to the competition,” he said.

“This means tailoring your digital and in-store engagement strategies to the Chinese market, and reaching out to Chinese consumers through the mobile platforms they engage with daily, such as the Discovery marketing tools on the Alipay platform. This is particularly crucial for key periods such as Lunar New Year and Golden Week, and the growth we’ve seen in transaction volume across sectors like luxury goods is a testament to the effectiveness of this strategy.”

Japan overtook Thailand to become the most popular Chinese tourist destination for Golden Week based on Alipay transaction volume for the first time, with South Korea, Malaysia and Australia rounding out the top five. Despite transaction volume increasing 40 per cent year-on-year, New Zealand was leapfrogged by The Philippines and Cambodia to fall two spots to 13th.

There was also a generational shift to the data, with the number of Chinese travellers born in or after 2000 using Alipay during Golden Week increasing by 130 per cent, demonstrating the rapidly growing Gen Z Chinese traveller market.

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