Who is paying the bill of Chinese tourists?

Chinese technology is worldwide influencing the Travel & Tourism industry, especially when it’s time to pay.

WeChat Pay, Alipay and Union Pay became very popular in China as much to be defined as  ubiquitous. Jing Daily reports that the volume of mobile payments in 2016 in China reached CN$5 trillion, more than 660.000 billion Euro. Alibaba is the leader with a 54% share, although WeChat follows with a 40%.

As reported by Tnooz, a survey conducted by Nielsen for Alipay shows that Chinese travellers overseas “used cash to pay for 30% of transactions, used bank cards for 42% of transactions, and mobile payments for 28% of transactions”, while non-Chinese tourists break down into 44% cash, 52% card and 5% mobile payments.

Chinese tourists when overseas like to go shopping and, in many cases, this phenomenon gave a second life to the western duty free shop as tax refund process became widely easier. Chinese travellers search the luxury shopping experience but they pay attention to the price and they love discounts.

But when it comes time to pay, mobile is becoming the most convenient solution.

And Chinese providers clearly understood it as they leveraged on them for their expansion outside the Country.

On 2017 Alibaba and WeChat reinforced their strategy thanks to partnerships with banks, retailers and destinations all over the world aimed at enabling merchants as much as possible to accept their payments.

At Twissen we observed that mobile payments are becoming popular even in Europe, while at a global level, there is an ongoing challenge to operate the next transaction. The industry of Travel & Tourism is one of the main battle fields. Technology is playing a strategic role and its success will depend on the capacity to finalise a convenient transaction for the users.


Author: Francesco Redi
President and founder at Twissen. Manager in Local Development, Tourism Policies,  EU Funds. He cooperates with several European universities, public bodies, development agencies, DMOs and enterprises.

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