Announcement of the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix’s new WeChat Pay and Alipay offering is a major milestone in their plan to becoming a bucket list Melbourne experience for Chinese visitors and residents.

The international major event is moving into phase two of its China Engagement Strategy which builds on the success of the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2018 which saw the development of a Mini-App, which sat inside WeChat to deepen the engagement with the Chinese audiences.

The mobile optimised WeChat Mini-App will be upgraded for the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 to feature a GPS enabled interactive map to support wayfinding for Chinese spectators. The establishment of the Formula 1® Mini-App was a first for any Australian major event. It was used 3,300 times during the four-day event with users spending an average of 5.18 minutes within it.

In 2019, Chinese audiences will be delighted to see the instigation of Chinese payment platforms to allow for smoother ticketing via more familiar platforms – namely WeChat Pay and Alipay. The general public will be able to purchase tickets to the event via both Chinese payment platforms either at the gate or at a dedicated ticket booth at Federation Square which will be open in the lead up to the event in March 2019.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation engaged Bastion Collective’s Chinese marketing agency, Bastion China, to build an official WeChat channel for them in 2018. They have reengaged the agency to roll out phase two of its Chinese engagement strategy in 2019.

The 2019 Mini-App upgrade will allow Chinese spectators to view daily event listings, create a favourite menu to build a list of attractions and events to see and do prior to arriving at the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix, view detailed information on all activities, locations and an interactive map that can be filtered by attraction or service (such as toilets or ATMs).

In addition to upgrading the Mini-App and incorporating Chinese payment platforms, Bastion China are also supporting the Australian Grand Prix Corporation by developing bespoke on-course experiences tailored to the Chinese market.

General Manager at Bastion China, Doris Li, said: “It is becoming increasingly important for traditional and iconic Australian events to provide a tailored approach for the Chinese market on Australian soil. With the Formula One Australian Grand Prix instigating Chinese payment platforms into their 2019 offering, as well as improving the functionality of their WeChat mini-app, they are certainly leaders in the major events space”

WeChat is the key channel to reach Chinese with 1 billion monthly active users globally and 3 million active monthly users in Australia.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation General Manager – Sales Commercial and Marketing, Corina Black, says: “The Formula One Australian Grand Prix is an intrinsic part of this great city. We are keen to innovate by enhancing our WeChat channel and interactive Mini-App, providing Chinese payment options and bespoke on-course experiences to attract and engage new audiences from our growing and diverse local Chinese communities”.