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The Importance of Offering Payment in the Currency of the Buyer

The Chinese Tourism Academy says that Chinese outbound tourism rose to approximately 81.3 million trips in the first half of 2019, up 14% year-over-year (YoY), according to a recent report by Alipay and Nielsen. This report points out that the most popular factors that affect Chinese tourists’ overseas shopping habits are the payment method (37%); product quality (36%) and price (36%). Payments companies’ operations may matter as much as which merchants they work with. 44% of Chinese tourists in popular travel destinations like the UK, Singapore, and South Korea use mobile payments most often, while just 13% of non-Chinese tourists do the same, suggesting that accepting mobile payments internationally can help payments companies attract Chinese tourists.

Both Chinese and international payments firms have much to gain from winning over Chinese tourists with international mobile payment acceptance. Top Chinese payments firms have been chasing international acceptance in a bid to capture more volume and win their consumers’ loyalty. Alipay and WeChat Pay, which dominate China’s mobile payments market, and the card network UnionPay have been expanding their networks focused on their mobile payments services By being available at a variety of merchants overseas, Chinese payments firms can process tourists’ international spending and convince consumers to use their services more regularly, including in China, because they can rely on the services no matter where they pay.

Any international payments companies looking to gain access to China should take advantage of their merchant acceptance networks to bring in volume.  Those firms will be entering into a very competitive industry, but they may be able to attract Chinese consumers due to their established and extensive merchant acceptance networks. If these players can convince international merchants to accept mobile payments by talking up the value of attracting Chinese tourists, that would likely boost the payments’ players volume in turn.

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Alastair Tempest

Alastair Tempest

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