Payment methods for Chinese tourists


Published 08/12/2020 · 3 min read

Until not too long ago, China was one of those countries lagging behind in internet use. Now, 99% of Chinese citizens use their smartphones to access it. The development of apps such as WeChat Pay and Alipay is changing their way of life. Do you want to know why? Join us!


Most popular payment methods in China

We are not going to tiptoe around this post, we want to tell you about the payment methods that are revolutionising Chinese tourists. It is not PayPal, nor credit or debit cards. It's more than that. Grab paper and pen and take note:



It is a payment method controlled by AliBaba, a kind of Chinese Amazon turned into a comprehensive ecosystem to do dozens of actions. Everything we are used to doing in independent apps, the Chinese can do it in a single App: pay in a restaurant, access financial services, small shops, top up the mobile phone, make transfers, pay bills...

Of course, users are not the only ones benefiting from such payment methods. Physical and electronic shops are also getting their benefits: they have access to more than 600 million consumers, the checkout process is fast, does not entail extra exchange rate costs, is monitored in real time and has a (shop visible on the platform, promotional campaigns, sending offers and news, advertising actions). When you have your shop in Alipay, it will appear on the page of the city where you are.

Not only does it mean more space for your smartphones' memory, but it also means saving time, convenience and speed. Integrating it is an easy and simple step, adapted to your needs. Users use Alipay because it is a reliable and secure financial services ecosystem. They don't need to carry cash.


WeChat Pay

If you are a business, WeChat is the perfect option to be more visible to your Chinese clients. You will receive payments quickly and easily. But it's not just a system to receive payments, it's much more than that. It is the most popular social network and mobile app in the Asian powerhouse. It includes instant messaging, shops, payment services, investments, taxi requests, calls, tickets, mobile payments, bill payments and much more.

You may have heard of it as 'the all-purpose app'. It is innovative, versatile and equivalent to a wide range Google Play or App Store applications. It's no coincidence that over 1 billion users are active on it every month. It is used by people between 16 and 65, so you have a wide range of access to users of any age. More possibilities.

From WeChat Pay, users can quickly complete the payment with their mobile phone. It's China's WhatsApp, but it goes way beyond that with its features. The owner of this wonderful app turned into a Chinese payment method is the company Tencent Holdings.


Why do Chinese tourists use these payment methods?

In fact, although the number of Chinese who continue to use paper money is very high, the numbers show that there are fewer and fewer. Especially if you are going to make big purchases. It is not particularly convenient to carry wads of yuan in your pocket, considering that the largest denomination is only 14.5 euros.

This is one of the main reasons why some Chinese are making the leap to using Chinese apps and payment methods, such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. Making transactions using their favourite online payment platforms is already a big advantage, and the truth is that merchants are adapting very well to them. It's a good way to eliminate bank fees. 

Without going any further, WeChat allows you to send the so-called 'hongbao' from China, that is, 'red envelope' containing money offered, usually, on special dates, such as the Chinese New Year. This means that they can make a payment as a gift at no additional cost. When it comes to paying, you just need to go through the checkout, generate a QR code from the App and the cashier will scan it to accept the payment.

As one would expect, many Chinese entrepreneurs have opened their own shops and registered them on the platform to receive their payments, so they make double use of the app.

Do you often have purchases from international tourists? Make it easy for Chinese tourists to pay with their favourite payment methods!


Advantages of using Alipay and WeChat Pay as payment methods in eCommerces

These payment methods are changing the world for many reasons. If you are also going to include it in your payment offer, be prepared to enjoy the following advantages:

  • Settlement in local currencies.
  • You avoid users paying bank fees or carrying cash.
  • You offer the possibility to pay through the payment method that your customers know and trust.
  • You make the process easier for your customers.
  • You have access to a larger number of customers.
  • You increase the visibility of your online shop.
  • Alipay already allows payment with facial recognition, linking the user's face to their account.
  • Although born in China, it is working on its international expansion and has already signed agreements with more than 100 financial institutions in Europe.
  • It allows you to enter the Chinese market easily, quickly and effectively.

The online universe is growing at full speed across the globe. In fact, in 2018 China managed to make more online than offline sales in the fashion sector, a claim backed by more than 1,119 billion mobile users. The popularity of the online universe and the use of the smartphone has led companies to develop the two most successful payment methods in China: WeChat Pay and Alipay.

If there's one thing we've learned during this post, it's that they are not just two apps, but ecosystems where you can do dozens of different actions, from sending a message to paying in a restaurant or a light bill. Chinese users take it with them everywhere, and with a simple scan they have already made the purchase.

Useful, popular and easy to integrate into e-commerce. Do you want to know more about how it works?

Tell us about it.

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