A saleswoman in Stockmann flagship department store in central helsinki used Alipay to serve a Chinese customer. (Xinhua/Li Jizhi)
HELSINKI, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese digital payment platform Alipay has got the endorsement by Finnish authorities to promote the use of the paying method.
Finpro, an umbrella organization comprising sectors that promote tourism, investment and export for Finland, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Alipay on Monday to enhance the cooperation.
The number of overnight stays by Chinese tourists in Finland from January to July this year grew by 43 percent compared with last year, which is the fastest growth among all foreigners, according to Heli Mende, head of global sales promotion of Visit Finland, a tourism industry committee under Finpro.
Mende said it is very important to understand the needs of travelers coming to Finland so that they can enjoy better travel experiences.
"Alipay is a perfect example of this kind of development, and we can make it easier for travelers to come to Finland, to go to restaurants, to buy souvenirs, or to pay their accommodation in hotels and so on," she said.
The access of Alipay has increased rapidly in the Nordic, with a global off-line shopping festival was launched in the Arctic city of Rovaniemi last year, and the first on-board Alipay was activated on Finnair flights early this year.
Stockmann, a leading department store in the Nordic, also introduced Alipay as one of its payment tools earlier this month. Stockmann Group's CEO Lauri Veijalainen said the Chinese payment system is straight-forward and client-friendly, which coincides with the high-level services that Stockmann is well known for.
"Alipay with its all supplementary products will be a very good part of that (Stockmann's service), from today actually," said Veijalainen, referring to the installation of Alipay system in the Stockmann flagship in central Helsinki starting on Monday.
Rita Liu, Alipay's chief in Europe, said the cooperation with Finnish authorities would further explore the scenarios that have access to Alipay and thus better serve Chinese tourists.
"Chinese not only can buy things abroad with Alipay, they can also have fun at more recreational facilities with more information at hand and easier payment methods," she told Xinhua after the MOU was signed.
Apart from tourism, the utilization of Alipay will also enable faster growth of business exchange between China and Finland, said Antti Aumo, Vice President of Finpro.
"Whether it is export of goods from China to Finland, from Finland to China or investments from China to Finland, all those will result in the increase in business travel," he said.
"Alipay is a significant payment platform in China. It makes it easier in increasing the business travelers to be able to pay with the financial instrument that you are familiar with in your home market," added Aumo.