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Wempe and Alipay launch pilot project for cashless payments with Concardis
From October, Chinese customers in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne can pay with their smartphone and the Alipay app
‘Chinese travellers are an important and fast-growing customer group for us. So we are delighted that we can now offer them this particularly convenient payment method,’ said Kim-Eva Wempe. At first, the company will be introducing Alipay in three stores: in Goethestrasse in Frankfurt, the Jungfernstieg in Hamburg and Hohe Strasse in Cologne. Once it has been implemented successfully in these three pilot stores, other German outlets of Wempe jewellers are to include the Alipay payment solution in their portfolio in early 2017. Rita Liu, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Alipay, also welcomed the partnership: ‘For Alipay, the cooperation with Wempe is a vital step in our expansion on the German market and for gaining a foothold in the major metropolitan regions.’
Alipay is the world’s largest payment and lifestyle platform from Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group. Since June of this year, the Chinese company has been working with Concardis specifically to approach German retailers. Payments via Alipay simply use a smartphone: the retailer’s terminal displays a QR code, which the customers scan with the app. Alipay has developed from a digital wallet into a lifestyle solution that enables users to call a taxi, book hotels or manage their money. The app also provides information about nearby retailers that accept Alipay payments, along with special offers and recommendations.
‘Concardis helps German retailers to make terminals at the point of sale Alipay operative without any additional investment and to enable Chinese travellers payment by smartphone. We take care of implementation of the required software and ensure that the payment process with Alipay goes smoothly,’ says Marcus W. Mosen, CEO of Concardis. Integrating the payment solution at the point of sale is straightforward. A software update for the terminals is all it takes. Concardis will initially introduce Alipay on its H5000 terminals and then roll the app out to its entire portfolio.
According to the German National Tourist Board, overnight stays by Chinese guests went up by more than two and a half times between 2004 and 2014, reaching over two million in 2014. And the trend is set to continue. The Financial Times calculates that Chinese tourists spend an average of USD 5,200, or around EUR 4,650, during their stay.
Launched in 2004, Alipay is the world’s leading third-party payment platform. It currently has over 450 million active registered users and more than 200 financial institution partners. During the 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, China’s equivalent of Cyber Monday, Alipay processed RMB 91.3 billion worth of transactions from Alibaba’s marketplaces. In addition to online payment functions such as online shopping payments, money transfer, and utility bill payments, Alipay is expanding to offline payments both inside and outside of China. Over 600,000 brick-and-mortar merchants and over one million taxis now accept Alipay as a payment method across China. As of December 2015, Alipay was accepted in more than 50,000 retail stores outside of China, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 24 countries and regions, including South Korea, Germany and France. More than half of the transactions processed by Alipay are conducted on mobile devices. Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, or buy movie tickets directly from various modules within the app and purchase wealth management products such as Yu’e Bao.
The name of Wempe stands for fine timepieces and jewellery. The Hamburg-based family business is managed by Kim-Eva Wempe (born in 1962) and has 32 outlets worldwide, including in New York, Paris and London. For generations, the business has had close ties with renowned Swiss and German watch manufacturers. Wempe manufactures its own wristwatch chronometers under the brand name of Wempe Glashütte I/SA in Glashütte in Saxony and a line of jewellery under the brand name by Kim in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The company also operates the largest independent watchmaker's workshop in Europe and has been ranked Best Place to Learn since 2015.
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