Changi Airport is poised to become the first airport in Southeast Asia to accept transactions made via Chinese mobile payment platform WeChat Pay, with the airport aiming to roll out the platform across most of its merchants by the end of the year.
The collaboration between the two companies means that passengers will be able to use WeChat Pay to purchase goods at the airport’s more than 150 outlets, including its duty-free, luxury retail and iShopChangi online store.
WeChat Pay is one of China’s most popular mobile payment platforms alongside alternatives such as Alipay. The system is integrated into the mobile messaging app WeChat, which currently has more than a billion monthly active users.
Chinese travellers accounted for about one-third of all sales at Changi Airport in 2017.
“Singapore is an important part of the Belt and Road initiative, and Changi Airport is the transportation hub of Singapore,” said Grace Yin, operation director of WeChat Pay.
“Through this collaboration, WeChat Pay will provide a more convenient shopping experience to Chinese tourists in Changi Airport. We hope the collaboration will also provide fresh options and new perspectives to Changi Airport’s retail operations.”
As companies within the travel sector look to capitalise on the growth of the Chinese market, many have begun looking towards mobile payment platforms such as WeChat Pay and Alipay as a way to attract customers.
This is particularly the case for airlines. In August last year, Dutch carrier KLM became the first non-Chinese carrier to accept WeChat Pay.
And British Airways CEO, Alex Cruz, told Business Traveller earlier this year that he hopes to see Chinese mobile payments introduced this year, describing the move as “a no brainer”.