According to the Korean Tourism Organization, travelers from China make up around one-third of South Korea’s inbound tourists each year. With that in mind, and Alibaba’s involvement in the Olympic games taking place in the country, it’s not surprise that Alipay is now accepted at over 1,150 Starbucks branches across South Korea.
Alibaba Group is an Olympic TOP partner through 2028. As part of the Olympic Partner worldwide sponsorship program, the Hangzhou-based technology giant is the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” partner of the International Olympic Committee, as well as a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel.
Ant Financial, which Alibaba have a 33% stake in, said that their ewallet is the first third-party mobile-based payment method enabled nationwide at Starbucks in the country.
“Starbucks branches are among the most-visited places by Chinese travelers in South Korea. We will continue to introduce Alipay to more local merchants, including restaurants and shops to make Chinese travelers’ journey as convenient as at home.”
– Danny Chung, General Manager of Alipay Korea
Alipay is available in 38 countries and regions and was first introduced in South Korea in 2015. Users of Alipay can also enjoy an instant tax refund via Alipay at four major airports in South Korea.
South Korea is a natural country for Alibaba to target due to it’s proximity to China. It’s reported that South Korea is the third-largest market for eBay globally (after the US and UK) and Alibaba will want to grab a share of the South Korean spend.