​NAB business customers trial Alipay

Pilot testing has begun with a small group of business merchant customers, with plans to expand the service in early 2019.

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(Image: Supplied)

The National Australia Bank (NAB) is looking to expand its payment options, announcing on Monday that it is targeting Chinese tourists with an Alipay trial.

The bank is currently running a pilot with a handful of business merchant customers before rolling out Alibaba's payment platform next year.

"This means from next year, Aussie businesses with a NAB merchant terminal can offer Chinese tourists Alipay, their preferred QR code payment method, in-store, and unlock an opportunity to promote their businesses on Alipay's marketing platform which has 870 million active users," NAB executive general manger of Deposit and Transaction Services Shane Conway said.

"We're beginning pilot testing with a small group of business merchant customers in November, before making the payment system available to all merchants through existing point-of-sale terminals in early 2019."

Speaking with ZDNet while in Shanghai for the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival earlier this month, Alibaba Group Australia and New Zealand managing director Maggie Zhou said more than 1 million Chinese tourists visit Australia each year, spending more than AU$11 billion.

"Every year, about 1.2 million visitors visit Australia from China. Every year, there's about 120 million trips from China around the world -- it's a really moving country with high spending," she said. "We deliver tourists to Australia and help the local businesses like the restaurants, tourist attractions ... using technology.

"Australia has big potential not only 1.2 million -- should be more -- we can attract more," Zhou continued.

"Australia is also a mystery for Chinese consumers. Why do kangaroos only live in Australia? Why do koalas only live in Australia? Chinese tourists ... love the country and love the products of the country."

Alipay -- used by over 600 million consumers -- entered Australia in 2016 through a partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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