Kingston- In exciting news for both Chinese consumers and Kingston business owners, Kingston Economic Development Corporation announced the launch of a pilot program with OTT Pay, a mobile payment service that allows Chinese customers to make purchases using their own currency. With OTT Pay, Kingston businesses can accept Chinese payments from popular payment systems AliPay and WeChat Pay, creating a win/win consumer experience. The enthusiasm surrounding the pilot program is high in Kingston, which is home to a large and growing Chinese population of students at Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College as well as business and social travelers.
Chinese visitors are the fastest-growing contributors of tourism dollars to the Canadian economy, spending $1.32B annually and an average of $2,325 per trip. In 2016, Canada welcomed close to 625,000 visitors, and the Canadian Government has set a goal to double this number by 2021. The number of Chinese students studying in Canada increased to over 180,000 last year. Kingston is currently home to an estimated 4,000 Chinese students at both secondary and post-secondary institutions and welcomed close to 19,000 visitors from mainland China in 2015.
According to Kingston EcDev, its goal is for this pilot program to not only welcome a new business to Kingston but to support their growth as they service existing Chinese consumers and help Kingston build an even stronger reputation as a great place for Chinese clients to visit and do business. OTT Pay currently boasts over 960 million monthly active WeChat Pay users and over 520 million monthly active AliPay users. OTT Pay will be establishing a presence in Kingston and are in the process of recruiting additional team members.
The launch of OTT Pay builds on the strong Kingston-China business relationship that was established with the 2016 announcement that Feihe International Inc. had selected Kingston as the home of its $255-million, 320,000 square foot infant formula manufacturing facility, creating over 250 local jobs. Kingston EcDev’s continued efforts to build Canadian-Chinese cooperation and friendship have already won significant praise.
Kingston EcDev will be collaborating with OTT Pay to hold a series of workshops and events starting in April 2018 to encourage businesses to take the steps needed to accept OTT Pay and expand the opportunities that will be open to them, with the growing number of Chinese consumers in the city. This will help maximize the benefits business owners will experience in the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism.
Chez Piggy and its sister business Pan Chancho Bakery and Café, will be named one of OTT Pay’s first clients in Kingston. With a rich history in the city and having recently celebrated its 39th anniversary in business, Chez Piggy is ready to embrace this new client base with the introduction of OTT Pay. Tourism Kingston has officially partnered with OTT Pay and the Visitor Experience Centre has recently installed a terminal at their 209 Ontario Street location.
“We are excited to introduce the Chinese mobile payment service to Kingston. Through the pilot program with OTT Pay, we hope to help Kingston increase its engagement and commerce with Chinese consumers and help promote the great businesses and services the city has to offer.” Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development Corporation
“Our partnership with OTT Pay supports our vision to deliver best-in-class experiences for all travelers. Data suggests that Chinese consumers have adopted digital payment expeditiously, with the majority of urban populations using either Alipay or WeChat pay as their digital wallet to make purchases directly from their bank accounts both at home and abroad.” Rob Kawamoto, Executive Director, Tourism Kingston
About Kingston Economic Development Corporation
The Kingston Economic Development Corporation is focused on building a strong community and supporting Kingston’s thriving economy. Its mission is to provide dynamic and collaborative leadership by leveraging Kingston’s unique assets to create jobs and investment in order to sustain, grow and transform Kingston’s economy to meet the needs of the 21st century.
The strategic priorities of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation are to deliver exceptional business support services, continue to invest in high priority growth sectors, and attract a strong labour force to meet the needs of employers.
About OTT Pay
OTT Pay is the official Canadian partner directly authorized by AliPay and WeChat Pay as well as a strategic partner of Tourism Toronto and Tourism Montreal. OTT Pay is a member of the OTT Group of Companies, a trusted financial partner in the Canadian marketplace for over a decade.