Etihad Airways and Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a collaboration that will identify potential opportunities to promote the growth and development of innovation and digitalisation for the tourism industry.
Through the collaboration, Etihad aims to enhance the guest experience and broaden customer choice, as well as elevate its engagement with Chinese visitors.
As part of the agreement, Etihad will leverage Tencent’s cloud computing capabilities and social media platforms such as WeChat, to better support its customer engagement strategy in China, and other potential regions via accessing Tencent’s network and ecosystem partners.
Etihad Airways has launched its own so-called ‘mini programme’ on WeChat, becoming one of the pilot international airlines to offer this service on the WeChat platform. The WeChat mini programmes allow brands to interact with WeChat users through provision of advanced features within the WeChat environment, without requiring the need for separate app downloads or interfaces. Etihad Airways launched its WeChat public account in 2016, and the mini programme is expected to boost its outreach to Chinese audiences.
Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The collaboration with Tencent presents a huge opportunity for Etihad, allowing us to engage with our guests on the biggest digital platform in China, speaking to them in their language and on their preferred platform. This is in line with our strategy of providing choice and customisation for our guests based on their preferences. Tencent’s established technological capabilities will undoubtedly supercharge our innovation drive, and I am very excited about the possibilities this will unlock for us.”
He added: “As we are all aware, the world continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus outbreak in China. Forging a partnership with China’s Tencent right now shows our strong support for China, which is a very important market for Etihad. The continuation of our daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Beijing at such a challenging time reinforces our commitment. We want to express our solidarity with the citizens and our staff in China and the UAE, who have come together during this testing time. Jiāyóu – stay strong.”
Poshu Yeung, Vice President, International Business Group, Tencent, also commented: “We are delighted to sign the MoU for the collaboration between Tencent and Etihad Airways, with a very pragmatic cooperation roadmap which rapidly formulates innovative strategies that will support the development of China’s outbound tourism and further enhance our footprint in the Middle East market.”