Mobile Payment Boosting Growth of Tourism Expenditure


Cashless fashion is thriving in China. Chinese tourists are spending more travelling abroad, with around 60 percent of those to Europe favoring mobile payment over traditional payment using cash or cards.

The average budget Chinese visitors have for their oversea travels  increased to more than $6,026(¥40,599) in 2018, 69 percent of them use mobile payment during foreign visits, up 4 percent from 2017, according to a Nielsen and Alipay report titled 2018 trends of Chinese mobile payment in outbound tourism.

In 2017, more than 147 million Chinese travelled abroad, who spent totally $220 billion (¥1482.2 billion), according to China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Mobile Payment - Mobile Payment Boosting Growth of Tourism Expenditure

Photo/China Daily

This suggests great opportunities for China’s mobile payment developers to tap into the expenditure. WeChat Pay, developed by China’s leading tech giant Tecent, has recently joined hands with Le BHV Marais, a Paris-based department store, in a bid to help European companies provide more convenient payment options to the increasingly growing Chinese visitors.

“We hope to extend the convenient experience of WeChat Pay overseas, so that global businesses can share the dividends of China’s growing outbound travel market, ”said Li Peiku, president of international business at WeChat Pay.

Aja Godais, director of customer service and international development at Le BHV Marais, hailed the partnership as a win-win strategy, holding that this cooperation would help enhance visibility of BHV among Chinese visitors and WeChat Pay among French.

Read Also: China’s Payment Apps, the Nightmares of U.S. Bankers

Smart payment solutions have been realized for offline store across sectors in China, and become a seemingly natural part in people’s daily life.

Nowadays, most Chinese people go out without bringing their wallet, no matter they go to supermarket, shopping mall, and even foreign countries.

In a survey taking in 2,800 Chinese visitors, 93 percent of the subjects said they would likely to spend more if they can get easier access to cashless payment.

As to foreign merchants who chose Alipay, developed by China’s tech giant Alibaba, nearly 60 percent of them said the mobile payment systems had brought growth in foot traffic and revenue.

Industry insiders say, the key for European merchants to cash in on this profitable business opportunity is to get a good understanding of the habits and preferences of Chinese tourists. Accessibility and simplicity are part of what Chinese tourists expect of mobile payment options.

The obvious strength of WeChat lies in the effectiveness of operating system for consumers’ smartphone. The 8-year-old social media tool WeChat has a large user base (1.057 billion monthly active users, updated 15/08/2018), these users would like to simply produce the QR and pay for products and services. However, the main challenge for WeChat Pay is that it’s not so appealing to foreigners as they don’t use WeChat.

While Alipay, as a part of Alibaba’s financial product Ant Financial, has bigger ambitions for global presence. Targeting both Chinese and foreign consumers, Ant Financial wants to have everything on offer, from mobile payment to wealth management, and money market.

Anyway, China’s two leading mobile payment solutions will make inroads overseas through respective advantages and offer better shopping experience for Chinese tourists.


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