A Look Into The Chinese Tourist’s Love For Mobile Payments

Findings from a joint survey by Nielsen and Alipay show an increase in the number of online payments by Chinese tourists. With the burgeoning spending power of the Chinese middle class, residents in China’s lower-tier cities like Lanzhou, Nanjing, Yiyang etc. are catching up with big-city dwellers like Beijing and Shanghai in terms of outbound destinations, travel expenditure and future travel budgets per capita.  By the year 2023, it is estimated that 20% of world travel will be undertaken by Chinese tourists!

The Power of Mobile

While destinations in the west remain popular among Chinese tourists, these countries haven’t always catered to the specific needs of this segment of tourists. But that is changing fast, as the results of this so clearly survey showed. Mobile payments via Chinese apps like Alipay and WeChat Pay are the preferred payment method of the Chinese population. Making this service available is key to capturing this market and retailers are doing just that. According to the report, in the U.K, 61% of local merchants surveyed had adopted Chinese mobile payment solutions since 2019, resulting in a higher usage among Chinese tourists. 

The U.K is among the top ten countries where Chinese tourists love using mobile payments with 64.9% of them already doing so. While Chinese payment services abroad make life easier for visitors from China, it’s a win-win situation for U.K businesses who adopt them as well. Ultimately, local businesses that provide these Chinese mobile payment methods are more likely to enjoy the business of Chinese tourists travelling to Europe as 92% of survey respondents said they are more likely to spend using their go-to payment methods. 

The impact of WeChat Pay and Alipay 

In China, everything runs on mobile, so it’s no surprise that businesses everywhere are accommodating this trend in their home country. The great thing about these Chinese payment platforms such as WeChat Pay and Alipay is their versatility to function as marketing tools in addition to the payment offerings. 88% of merchants surveyed, recognized that additional services available on Chinese payment platforms facilitated the marketing of their stores, and 63% saw improved efficiency in their store management. For example, WeChat marketing can be a great way to increase your visibility among the Chinese population. So, it makes sense that 66% of merchants surveyed hoped to carry out more digital store operations and further their stores’ promotional and marketing activities on these Chinese mobile payment platforms.

In China, Alipay and WeChat Pay are permanent fixtures in people’s phones so it comes as no surprise that in 2019, 100% of Chinese tourists surveyed had Alipay on their mobile phones while travelling overseas. On average, Chinese tourists surveyed used Alipay in nearly 4 use cases during their most recent trip overseas, with similar stats reported for WeChat pay as well. 

This situation highlights the importance of merchants in the UK accepting these methods of payment from Chinese tourists. As the world wakes up to the power of mobile payments and WeChat Marketing, don’t let your business fall behind. Get in touch with JGOO to learn more.


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