Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's largest aviation group, will start accepting payments made via Alipay. That is according to a statement issued by CellPoint Mobile, the airline's global payments partner.
"The Alipay integration is the first in our PSP (payments solution provider) partnership in China and an important step in our airline's growth strategy for the mobile channel," said Miretab Teklaye, Director Digital, at Ethiopian Airlines.
In the recent past, the number of Chinese tourists across the globe has grown as well as their spend. The trend is the same for Africa as it has become one of their top destinations.
"With 100 million Chinese traveling abroad every year, more merchants in Southeast Asia, Western Europe, North America – and now Ethiopia – are investing in mobile solutions to support Alipay for Chinese visitors and tourists, as well as foreign expats living in China," wrote CellPoint.
This partnership, thus, makes sense for Ethiopian - as the continent's largest carrier. And, it is with no doubt that the company is targeting Chinese tourists coming to the continent.
"By adding support for Alipay, Ethiopian Airlines is strengthening its position not only as the flag carrier of Ethiopia but as a leading airline for commercial air travel within Africa," said Ciaran Wilson, Senior Sales & Account Director at CellPoint Mobile.
Similarly, the same partnership makes sense for Alipay as it seeks to gain ground across the African continent.
On his last trip to the continent, Ma pointed out payments and tourism among the three sectors that are yet to be developed on the continent.
In July this year, Ethiopian Airlines selected CellPoint Mobile as its global payments solution provider (PSP). As part of the partnership, CellPoint would "add many new alternative payment methods (APMs) to its mobile app that resonate with its passengers."
The list included AliPay and WeChat Pay, yet they have been able to secure the former first. This perhaps can be explained by Jack Ma's interest in the continent. Alipay, through the parent company - Ant Financial - is on a drive to establish itself as a payment force on the continent.