Alibaba News Roundup: Alipay Sees Inbound Payment Surge; Hong Kong Consumers Score Festive Deals at Freshippo; Alibaba Cloud AI Assistant Helps Write Code

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Alibaba News Roundup: Alipay Sees Inbound Payment Surge; Hong Kong Consumers Score Festive Deals at Freshippo; Alibaba Cloud AI Assistant Helps Write Code

A shopper uses Alipay. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

Online and mobile payment platform Alipay saw a jump in overseas visitors to Mainland China using its services to pay vendors in March, as tourists visited ahead of the Easter and Ching Ming holidays.

And speaking of travel, Alibaba Group’s hypermart chain Freshippo reported an uptick in Hong Kong shoppers snapping up festive deals at its Shenzhen locations.

In other news, Alibaba Cloud said this week that it’s using an AI-powered programming assistant to help developers at the company with coding.

Alipay Sees Jump in Use By Overseas Visitors to China in March

International tourists in China are increasingly turning to Alipay to access goods and services, according to the latest data.

The cumulative transaction amount of overseas Alipay users in mainland China rose nearly 10-fold last month compared with March 2023, while the number of active users increased almost 6-fold.

The payment app, which enables users to pay vendors by scanning a QR code, supports 10 overseas wallets, including South Korea’s Kakao Pay, Malaysia’s Touch ‘n Go eWallet and TrueMoney in Thailand.

In addition, Alipay recently introduced a feature allowing foreign tourists to link their international bank cards to the app. The U.S., Japan and Thailand are among the top source countries for consumers who have used the card binding tool.

Hong Kongers Flock to Shenzhen for Deals at Freshippo

During the recent Easter and Ching Ming festive period, consumers from Hong Kong visited mainland China to stock up on grocery essentials, from poultry to desserts.

Between March 28 and April 7, some 11 million Hong Kong residents and visitors passed through the city’s sea, land and air control points, according to Immigration Department estimates.

Some of them made the trip to take advantage of deals at big-box mainland stores like Freshippo, with chicken, durian and mochi among the most popular items at the chain’s Shenzhen locations.

Many Hong Kong shoppers are regulars at Freshippo stores near the border.

Visitors from the city account for around 40% of customers on weekdays in Freshippo’s Wongtee Plaza store in Shenzhen but on weekends this surges as high as 60%.

Alibaba Cloud Pilots AI Coding Assistant to Help Employees Write Code

Alibaba Cloud is leveraging AI programming assistant Tongyi Lingma to boost software development efficiency at the company.

The coding assistant, powered by Alibaba Cloud’s proprietary large language model Qwen, can help generate, read and optimize code, cutting the time for test code implementation from minutes to seconds.

Tongyi Lingma saves developers hours of manual work by reducing over 70% of the workload for writing test code, according to Alibaba Cloud.

The company also said it plans to roll out a Tongyi Lingma plugin for internal use among employees. Going forward, 20% of the company’s source code will be generated by Tongyi Lingma rather than manually written by developers.

Since its launch last November, the downloads for Tongyi Lingma have exceeded two million, enabling individual and enterprise users in China to accelerate their coding efficiency across the software development life cycle.

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Tmall Focuses Resources on Brand Growth in Management Update

Alibaba Group’s B2C online marketplace Tmall has earmarked more resources for business development among its merchants as the platform company looks to cement its position in China’s e-commerce sector.

The platform plans to triple the scale of resources dedicated to new products, it announced during the Top Talk event, and its mobile app will feature a new product tab to highlight notable releases.

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Alibaba Cloud Launches Price Cuts for International Customers to Boost AI Growth

Alibaba Cloud is slashing the price of core public cloud products for international customers to support long-term AI growth, the company announced during its Spring Launch virtual summit.

The new pricing strategy covers five core public cloud product categories in markets outside mainland China, with an average price reduction of 23%.

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