IHG will expand Alipay online-payment feature worldwide next year

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will expand its partnership with Alipay so that guests can pay for rooms through the China-based, online-payment service at all of IHG's hotels starting next year


IHG will initially roll out Alipay payment availability at its more than 270 hotels in greater China this year before expanding the feature worldwide in 2017. IHG said Wednesday that it will be the "first global hotel company" to offer Alipay availability at all of its properties.

U.K.-based IHG, whose brands include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental, had 217 hotels, or about 5% of its global total, in greater China as of June 30. The hotel operator has been looking to boost its China-based business via its new Hualuxe brand as well as its China Ready program that provides amenities favored by Chinese travelers.

IHG has been working with Alipay parent Ant Financial since 2012, when that company's Alitrip.com OTA affiliate added a reservation portal for IHG on its website.

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