(Yicai Global) Jan. 26 -- Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s financial payment service, Alipay, has debuted in the Middle East and retail outlets at major tourist spots in Israel have started accepting it, providing consumers convenient and efficient online remittance channels, The Times of Israel reported.
Many Alipay users are Chinese tourists. Starting from this month, they have been able to pay by scanning QR codes at shops without having to swipe their credit cards or pay in the local currency, saving them the trouble of exchanging money and handling fees.
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. and James Richardson, a duty-free shop chain, will accept Alipay in the future.
Diamond and jewelry stores and skin care product shops in Israel were among the first retailers to accept Alipay in the Middle East.
Chinese tourists are accustomed to using Chinese mobile payment tools while shopping overseas, and Alipay's Israel entrance will promote the development of tourism, The Times of Israel quoted Wang Li, director of Alibaba's Europe, Middle East and Africa branch, as saying.
Israel is the 38th country Alipay's payment service has made it in.
Some 123,000 Chinese tourists went to Israel last year, marking an annual increase of at least 45 percent, per Israel Central Bureau of Statistics data. Chinese travelers shell out USD241 per day on average, and their spending ranks fifth among foreign tourists in Israel, according to Israeli Ministry of Tourism statistics.