Chinese ease payment methods for foreign airline travel
Chinese and U.S. officials from online payment companies signed a partnership Monday to ease the sale of plane tickets to the USA and elsewhere, with the goal of dramatically expanding foreign travel.
Chinese Embassy officials congratulated the payment companies for the agreement between Washington-based UATP, which stands for Universal Air Travel Plan and is owned by airlines worldwide, and China-based Alipay International, which primarily serves consumers there.
Both companies act like PayPal to provide transactions that customers trust, and the goal is to expand foreign travel, after 83 million Chinese traveled abroad last year.
Tian Deyou, the Chinese Embassy’s minister counselor for the economic and commercial office, said the agreement would promote business investments, education and tourism.
“This collaboration will provide more reliable, more efficient and convenient travel services between China and the United States,” said Deyou, who attended the signing.
Alipay.com, with 800 million registered accounts in China, provides cross-border payments among 180 financial organizations in 15 currencies.
The company was created in 2004 to build trust among Chinese consumers skeptical of ordering anything over the Internet. But Li Jingming, an Alipay vice president, said customers now routinely use the company to pay for entertainment, electric bills and even restaurant tabs.
“It opens up hundreds of millions of Chinese customers to U.S. businesses,” Jingming said of the agreement.
As with PayPal, Alipay customers can use credit cards, debit cards or cash from a bank account to pay for a transaction, Jingming said. Alipay has two types of transactions: money can either be transferred directly to a merchant or held in escrow, to ensure that a customer is satisfied with the product they bought before the money is released, he said.
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