Alipay launches digital schemes to help Wuhan as lockdown lifts

As Wuhan - the city at the epicentre of China’s Coronavirus outbreak - prepares to emerge from lockdown, Alipay has launched a series of digital initiatives aimed at helping small businesses get back on their feet.

The digital lifestyle platform run by Ant Financial Services, the financial division of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has set up a special section on the landing page of the Alipay app, to allow the platform’s 900 million users easily locate merchants and their respective products and services in Wuhan.

The section allows orders to be placed directly via the Alipay app for local specialty produce, and also enables users to access livestreams of tourist destinations across the city as it emerges from lockdown.

These initiatives will later expand coverage to support service providers across China, as they tap into digital technologies to help them recover from the economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

As part of a three-year plan unveiled in March, Alipay will also work with 50,000 software vendors to support the digital transformation of 40 million service providers.

Alipay will also launch a series of incentive programs to encourage 1,000 software vendors to leverage its full suite of digital tool kits, such as digital cashier assistant and smart marketing, to develop sector-specific solutions for 5 million storefronts of multiple chain brands.

These programs are expected to generate hundreds of millions of cumulative page views for chain brands conducting business via Alipay’s platform in the next six months.

Simon Hu, chief executive officer of Ant Financial, said: "In every hardship, there lies an opportunity to envision and create a brighter future - we firmly believe that, after the COVID-19 outbreak, service providers who are able to tap into the power of digital technologies will come out the strongest.

"We are committed to supporting SMEs and will continue to provide leading digital technology solutions to support the recovery of small businesses and help them prepare for the future."

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