Intercontinental Hotels Group has strengthened its partnership with Alipay, a third-party online payment solutions company in China.

The improved deal means that IHG will become the world’s first global hotel company to give Chinese customers the ability to pay via Alipay through all of its online and mobile channels.

Rollout of Alipay will begin in 2017. The new payment option will be valid at all IHG hotels in Greater China, as well as a number a hotels around the world that participate in the group’s “China Ready Programme”.

The announcement builds on the 2012 IHG–Alipay partnership, which saw the former become the first global hotel company to launch an e-store on Alitrip at

“[We have] always been a leader in providing advanced payment solutions to guests through our direct booking channels,” said Keith Barr, Chief Commercial Officer, IHG.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Alipay to strengthen our ever-evolving travel experience for our guests globally.”

China has been a big focus for the hotel company, as it predicts that nearly 90 million Chinese households will be able to travel overseas by 2023, fuelled by a growing middle class and increasing propensity to travel.

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Clement Huang