Australian taxi payments service Cabcharge has announced launching an integration with China's mobile and online payments giant Alipay.
Following a testing period, Cabcharge will switch on the payment feature across its 22,000 vehicles, which account for approximately 97 percent of taxis in Australia.
It will allow Chinese people travelling to Australia to pay fares with Alipay.
The payment platform, owned by operated by the Jack Ma-founded Ant Financial Services Group, has an active user base in excess of 520 million Chinese consumers, the companies said in a statement Monday.
"Cabcharge is an early adopter of Alipay in Australia and they understand that better servicing Chinese customers in market can lead to revenue growth. This technology will help Australian taxi drivers break down language and currency barriers and limit anxieties that that may have stopped Chinese tourists from using taxis in the past," Alipay Australia and New Zealand country manager George Lawson said
Cabcharge also intends to use Alipay's marketing features to promote taxis to Chinese travellers before and during their visit to Australia. A joint statement from the companies explained this could include sending notifications to travellers as they land at airports or depart major sporting events.
"Our strategic investment in technology has contributed to us remaining at the forefront of non-cash payment technologies in Australia. The acceptance of Alipay enables the Australian taxi industry to more effectively service Alipay's growing user base in Australia," Cabcharge CEO and MD Andrew Skelton said.
"Cabcharge's partnership with Alipay is an example of our continued commitment to improve the passenger experience by making our payment services as seamless, secure, and simple as possible."
However, unlike ridesharing services such as Uber -- which have been operating legally in Australian states and territories since as early as 2015 -- the use of Cabcharge in a taxi still requires the passenger to hand over payment at the end of a trip, requiring them to stay parked in the vehicle until the payment terminal has been switched on and payment has been approved.
Alipay's agreement with Cabcharge in Australia follows roll out of the technology across taxis in New York and Los Angeles in the United States.
PREVIOUS AND RELATED COVERAGE
Cabcharge has criticised the Australian government's inability to create a level playing field after the rise of ride-booking services such as Uber.
The partnership is aimed at expanding Alipay's presence in the Australian tourism industry, given the 1.2 million Chinese tourists that visit Australia annually.
Alipay and Commonwealth Bank have signed an agreement that will see Alipay tapping the Australian market and CommBank business customers tapping Chinese tourists and students.