Delta Air Lines makes China-friendly payments move

Delta Air Lines has made it more convenient for Chinese customers to buy flight tickets by becoming the first US airline to accept payments via Alipay.

Customers can now use Alipay to pay for ticket purchases on the airline’s website. The move comes as part of Delta’s expressed plan to become America’s most Chines-friendly carrier.

With over 300 million registered users, Alipay is the largest online payment service in a country that now provides the world’s largest source of outbound tourism. Chinese tourists now rank among the world’s biggest spenders, splashing out $165 billion on international travel in 2014, an increase of 28 per cent over 2013, according to Reuters.

Many governments are trying to woo this lucrative tourist base, with the US signing a landmark deal to extend visas issued to Chinese travellers from one year up to a decade.

Delta has been increasing its direct US-China flights since 2009. The airline now flies between Beijing and Shanghai and Detroit and Seattle, and will link Los Angeles and Shanghai in July.

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