According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the number of international visitors to Japan in 2017 was 28.69 million, a 19.3% increase from the previous year. Chinese visitors accounted for 25.6% of this total, at 7.35 million. Among Chinese visitors, the trend is shifting from group tours to independent travel. The percentage of independent travelers visiting Japan was only 28.5% in 2012, but jumped significantly to 60% in 2017. Additionally, in a survey of international visitors, “transportation” followed “communication in general” as the most significant problem respondents faced on their trip2. Considering these circumstances, there is an urgent need to make public transportation easier for international visitors to use.
Due to Alipay’s exceptional convenience, it has not only been adopted all across China, but has even spread to commercial facilities in Japan. The verification tests of Alipay high-speed payment on Yui Rail are aimed at making transportation more convenient for Chinese visitors by establishing a framework for direct use of Alipay at ticket gates.
With the Japanese government setting a target of 40 million international visitors to Japan in 2020 in the “New Tourism Strategy to Invigorate the Japanese Economy” formulated on March 30, 2016, Japan is expected to see ever-increasing numbers of overseas travelers in the future. The six companies involved in these verification tests intend to further expand and improve their services in order to help address challenges faced by international visitors.
1 A mobile payment service launched in China in 2004. As one of the world’s leading payment platforms, it has over 600 million users worldwide and over 50,000 participating stores in Japan.
2 Source: Japan Tourism Agency（http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/000190659.pdf）
■ Roles of the Six Companies in Verification Tests
Adjustment of accounts between Ant Financial Japan (Alipay’s issuer) and TIS as Alipay’s acquirer
Construction and operation of payment relay center, as well as proxy for adjustment of accounts between Okinawa Urban Monorail (participating merchant) and ORIX (acquirer)
・Ant Financial Japan
Management of payment services at railway ticket gates using the Alipay app and various issuer/brand operations as the Japanese arm of Ant Financial Services Group
Upgrading and operation of software for Okinawa Urban Monorail ticket gates as vendor of ticket gates
Provision and operation of Q-CORE, a thin-client server capable of processing large numbers of transactions at high speeds, along with the software framework for development of a payment application to run on the server
・Okinawa Urban Monorail
Provision of verification testing sites and inquiry handling at stations
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