With China quickly becoming the top outbound tourism market in the world, the battle between tech giants Alibaba and Tencent for Chinese tourists’ on-the-road cellphone spending dollars is becoming fierce.

Following a recent announcement that WeChat formed a partnership with Canadian telecom company TELUS to offer travelers mobile coverage in North America, Alipay has now moved into the Australian market with its own telecom partnership.

The next battleground between Alibaba and Tencent for tourist dollars may involve overseas telecom operators

Australian telecom company Vodafone Hutchison Australia (a subsidiary of London-based Vodafone Group plc) has launched a discount SIM card offer that specifically targets Chinese tourists and those on working holidays or enrolled in local schools. That makes Vodafone the first Australian telecom company to accept Alipay as a payment option for its services, and the company is also offering a 50-percent discount on its pre-paid starter pack for customers who choose to pay with Alipay.

The new payment option allows Vodafone to advertise its services within the popular Alipay app, which should raise awareness among Chinese tourists who want to visit Australia.

The agreement will allow Vodafone to advertise its services to potential tourists to Australia through Alipay

The deal has reportedly attracted more than 5,000 customers with 8,000 discount coupons redeemed since going into effect in early October.

Australia welcomed 1.3 million Chinese tourists in the 12 months ending June 30, an increase of 13 percent from the previous 12-month period, according to Tourism Research Australia. Those same tourists also accounted for a quarter of all tourist spending in the period.


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