Cultural mediation via App: Alipay launches Chinese ‘travel guide’ for the Viktualienmarkt in Munich

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Alipay, the world’s leading mobile and online payment platform, introduced its new in-app “Travel Guide” service to the traditional Munich Viktualienmarkt. Chinese tourists can now use the Alipay app to access a wealth of information on the culture and history of the market, find out more about individual market stalls and products, and inform themselves about German behavioural norms, all in Chinese language.

“With the in-app ‘Travel Guide’, we want to bring Chinese visitors in Munich closer to the Viktualienmarkt, strengthen a mutual relationship and contribute to a better understanding of the market, overcoming language, cultural and currency barriers,” says Alipay’s head of EMEA Roland Palmer.

Alipay is used as a multifunctional lifestyle app by Chinese tourists in Germany primarily to pay at the thousands of local merchants – including Breuninger, Rossmann or Promod – who are accepting payments via Alipay. On the Viktualienmarkt payments are processed by the European payment company Blue Code in partnership with local banks. Merchants can also promote special offers and bargains within the app, thereby creating incentives to buy and attract customers. Alipay users benefit from coupons and vouchers that they can redeem on site. In addition, Alipay is also used to find local attractions, such as shops, restaurants and entertainment.

The new “Travel Guide” aims to simplify trips to Germany for guests from the Far East – just in time for “Golden Week”, which is celebrated every year from 1 October and is a hugely popular travel and shopping week for Chinese tourists. With this world premiere in the old town of Munich, Alipay brings Chinese tourists closer to the history and culture of the 211-year-old Viktualienmarkt and introduces individual stalls, merchants and products that can be quickly found on the market via the map in the app.

Users also benefit from Chinese menus that make the selection easier for culinary specialties. For example, photos and recommendations in Chinese help to describe the Münchner Suppenküche, a traditional German soup bistro of the market. In addition, merchants can submit China-specific recommendations for their own products via the app; for example, the tea stall Tea Flower focuses on fruit teas and green teas with Bavarian herbs, which are especially appealing to Chinese people. Country-specific etiquette guidance can also be found in the “Travel Guide”: How to salute correctly when drinking in Germany? What are the bee protection laws in Bavaria? What rules are there when taking photos or in terms of litter disposal?

With Chinese visitors becoming better informed and more able to make purchase decisions easily, both Viktualienmarkt merchants and visitors from other countries benefit. “Customers in China are used to paying with Alipay. Buying with the same app here in Europe as well is much faster than finding the right coins and bills at the counter in a foreign currency,” explains Roland Palmer. “So in addition to a better understanding of the tradition of the Viktualienmarkt among Chinese visitors, we also see shorter waiting times at the market stalls.”