Merchants forced to adapt to the purchasing and payment behavior of Chinese tourists

Chinese nationals are used to rapid and convenient mobile payment platforms at home. They are used to conduct a transaction by simply tapping a QR code on their phone. China recorded 81 trillion Yuan (US$12.8 trillion) in transactions from January to October of 2017, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. When traveling abroad, they are also inclined to demand the same level of convenience and facility. Due to the massive number of Chinese tourists visiting various countries each year, merchants and retailers are being forced to adapt their services to attract them.


Keeping pace with the Chinese cashless lifestyle

A recent report released by Nielsen revealed that 65% of Chinese tourists visiting foreign countries used their existing mobile payment apps in 2017 unlike travelers from other countries. Only 11% of the latter used their existing mobile payment apps for purchases. As the number of Chinese tourists is growing rapidly, mobile payment is concomitantly having a higher penetration into the market.

The survey highlighted that Chinese tourists largely used their mobile payment app for transactions at retailers, for dining and for attractions. The key drivers pushing Chinese travelers to use mobile payment are convenience, speed, and familiarity. 48% of the Chinese participants in the poll further stated that they feel a sense of pride for Chinese brands.

Chinese travelers prefer merchants offering familiar mobile payment apps

According to the president of Alipay Americas, Chinese tourists are bringing along their cashless lifestyle to the countries they are visiting. The US is on the top of the list as the country welcoming the highest number of Chinese tourists. At the same time, the latter look for those merchants offering familiar mobile payment methods and are ready to shop at those merchants too.

For the last Lunar New Year, over 6.5 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad. As a result, merchants and retailers, as well as brands, are having to devise innovative partnerships and strategies to hook them since they can have a dramatic impact on businesses. Alipay, for instance, has partnered with Lacoste US stores and the payment processor Verifone. They understand the fact that working with Chinese local mobile payment service providers will help them increase their customer base significantly.

Alipay and WeChat Pay are expanding abroad

To lure the world’s most prodigious group of spenders, more store locations are turning to Alipay and WeChat Pay, the other Chinese mobile payment platform much appreciated by Chinese nationals. By offering this consumer-oriented facility and moving deeper into mobile payment, they are striving to boost sales. According to the US Census Bureau, last year, Chinese travelers drove the total US sales of the categories they generally prefer by about 9%: clothing, accessories, and electronics.

Before this level of mobile payment was offered, Chinese consumers faced great obstacles when traveling abroad: the language barrier and the payment barrier. Now, the possibility to use their own mobile wallet for purchases in their own currency in various countries has lifted them past these barriers.

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