Chinese internet giant, Tencent, and UAE airline, Etihad, will work together to reignite tourism and travel amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.
The two signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in March to establish a partnership focused on increasing consumer comfort and inflight digital activity.
Tencent, the tech giant responsible for WeChat, and Etihad, the official airline of the United Arab Emirates, will use Tencent’s already established infrastructure to boost digital engagement with Chinese travellers.
Robin Kamark, chief commercial officer at the Etihad Aviation Group, said the programme will incorporate the cloud-computing capabilities of Tencent and WeChat’s social-media platform, which hosts over one billion users in China alone. Kamark said the partnership will ‘supercharge’ the airline’s innovation drive.
Etihad hopes to boost the customer experience by using the WeChat platform to communicate with clients in their preferred language and on their preferred platform.
The formalisation of the partnership follows years of collaboration. In 2016 Etihad launched a mini-programme on the WeChat platform which allows Etihad clients to enjoy WeChat features without any paywalls or additional downloads.
The MoU comes at a time when China is showing the first signs of recovery from the Covid-19 outbreak in January. China had fewer than 50 new cases in the second week of March, while other nations, like Iran and Italy, are experiencing a significant strain on their healthcare operations.
Vice president of Tencent, Poshu Yeung, expressed his delight at the MoU, saying the deal between both parties provided a pragmatic roadmap for innovation and further development of China’s outbound tourism to the Middle East.