MANILA-- State-owned Duty Free Philippines will start accepting payment via Chinese mobile payment applications WeChat and Alipay by the end of November 2018.

Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC) signed on Tuesday a memorandum of agreement with the two Chinese firms that developed the applications, as the official service providers for mobile payments in all Duty Free shops in the country.

The document was signed by Chief Operating Officer Vicente Angala for DFPC, Smart Pay and Equicom president Henry Diaz for Alipay, Safe Serve 58 board of director Robert Yupangco for WeChat, and other officials of both acquirers.

In a speech, Angala welcomed the partnership, noting this "proves that Duty Free Philippines continues to expand its services to reach the shopping needs of its consumers," as a commitment to its priorities and mandate.

"All these efforts are geared to further enhance the Tourism attached agency’s retail presence to augment revenues and continually contribute to government’s tourism programs and projects," he said.

Angala is optimistic that the sales of Duty Free Philippines will witness a surge, with the increasing Chinese tourists coming to the Philippines.

"Definitely, this will increase our sales because this is the only mode that the Chinese are using when they purchase goods," he told reporters in an interview.

WeChat and Alipay have around 700 million to 800 million users in China, Yupangco and Diaz said.

Yupangco said this venture will be highly beneficial for Duty Free Philippines as more than a million Chinese visitors are expected to arrive in the Philippines by the end of the year.

"They have nothing except a little cash and cellphone with WeChat (installed). They are going all over the Philippines enjoying the tourist sites and so on," he said.

Diaz said the spending of one Chinese tourist may reach around PHP60,000 a day.

With this spending behavior of the Chinese, as well as their app's Alipay Discover feature where users get notified of countries accepting this mode of payment, Diaz said Duty Free Philippines is poised to get stronger promotion in China.

"Alipay is promoting Duty Free or any merchant that we acquire through Alipay Discover," he said. (PNA)