Alipay and HotelClub have reached an agreement under which Alipay will offer easy and secure payment solutions to the growing membership-based online accommodation company. This tie-up marks Alipay’s first direct cooperation with a major international online travel agency. The agreement will enable an ever growing number of independent, out-bound Chinese travellers to plan, book and pay for their hotel accommodation seamlessly on HotelClub websites using their Alipay accounts. Travellers will have access to HotelClub’s extensive inventory of hotel deals around the world and enjoy Club Benefits including free extras when they stay, exclusive deals on hotels and Priority Club Service. They will also be able to earn up to 7% back in Member Rewards points on every booking which can be used at any time, without restrictions. HotelClub currently operates a Chinese website with hotel offerings priced in Renminbi (RMB) currency. The agreement with Alipay is the first of a series of steps by HotelClub to provide a more localised user experience to Chinese consumers. The move will also enable the brand to extend its membership-based travel offerings to Alipay’s 800 million registered accounts and drive HotelClub’s growth plans in the Chinese market. Nicolas Chu, President at HotelClub, says: “For us, it’s important that we offer the Chinese traveller more than just a great range of hotels around the world. We want to provide better value and service by offering our members extras when they stay, exclusive deals and savings back every time they book with us. However we also understand that to do this we need to ensure the modern Chinese traveller can transact with us easily, securely and in a way they feel comfortable with. Alipay is a great partner to help us to achieve that.” “With China’s booming economy and rapidly expanding middle class, Chinese travellers are spreading their footprints not just to the world’s major tourist attractions but also off the beaten track. This agreement demonstrates HotelClub’s confidence in the Chinese market. As a preferred online payment service provider in China, Alipay is delighted to be working with HotelClub to create more value for our users.” Says Li Jingming, Vice President of International Business at Alipay. Chu noted HotelClub’s partnership with Alipay was based not only on the payment platform’s impressive scale, but also on the merits of its superior technology, flexibility and security. According to iResearch, Alipay accounted for 48.3% in China’s online payment sector in Q1 2013. Alipay’s online payment service will be launched on HotelClub’s sites in Q4 this year. In 2012, China has exceeded Germany and the United States to become the world’s largest outbound travel market.