Alipay and Yelp to Extend U.S. Services for Chinese Tourists

Alibaba affiliated Ant Financial Services Group, and its Alipay payment solution inked a deal with Yelp to help Chinese tourists to discover, plan, and pay for restaurants and other services in the United States.

Initial roll out will be in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. These locations are primary destinations for Chinese travels.

Initially, Yelp’s content will be in English, with a translated version of the app planned. Both companies desire to expand the service to more locations and countries in the future.

U.S. companies do have to opt into the program with Yelp as they have to agree to accept Alipay as a payment solution. The transaction backbone of this program is managed by First Data as they already have an agreement with Alipay.

The primary benefit to Chinese tourists is they are using a native app in their language (Mandarin) and can pay in Chinese yuan.

Alipay connects the payment to their funding source back in China and converts the funds into U.S. Dollars for local businesses. A classic win for all parties.

With over 520 million users globally, the lion’s share from China, Alipay is China’s most popular digital wallet.

“Yelp is the most-comprehensive platform for information on local businesses. As Chinese tourists are seeking local experiences when they travel abroad, the partnership represents a substantial opportunity for U.S. businesses to connect with the growing audience of Chinese travelers that would otherwise be difficult to reach,” said Souheil Badran, Alipay’s president for North America. “The partnership also expedites Alipay’s goal toward promoting a global digital lifestyle.”

Image: Ant Financial | Alipay on Mobile Device
Image: Ant Financial | Alipay on Mobile Device


According to data from the China Tourism Academy, China had 122 million outbound tourists last year, up 4.3% from 2015. Chinese visitors to the United States rose to around three million last year.

A recent report by economic forecasting firm Oxford Economics and credit card company Visa shows that Chinese travelers are growing by far greater numbers than any other country.

By 2025, the study estimates Chinese tourists will spend over $255 billion on travel, which is 86 percent increase over travel spent in 2015.

Image: Oxford Economics and Visa
Image: Oxford Economics and Visa

The report bases its findings on households earning more than $20,000 per year. Also, the numbers indicate local spent and do not include plane tickets.

There is no doubt that the growing middle class in China wants to see the world. Chinese often have traveled abroad, but the growth in household income makes it even more possible today.

Any integration that helps U.S. businesses to take advantage of this exploding travel boom from China is good news.

Of course, Yelp itself operates internationally. So there is a good chance that a successful run with Alipay could spill over into other markets.

We love to hear your thoughts on Alipay and Yelp. Please leave your comment in the comments section below.

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