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Chinese mobile payments gain competitive edge abroad

By Yuan Can (People's Daily Online)    17:07, September 18, 2016

While Korean mobile payment systems Samsung Pay and Kakao Pay have failed to gain traction in most brick and mortar stores, Chinese mobile payment systems including WeChat Wallet and Alipay are gaining fans in the country, where Chinese mobile payments are accepted in many stores.

Payment via WeChat Wallet accounted for about 20 percent of total sales at Shinsegae Duty-Free (Myeong-dong), Thepaper.cn reported, quoting the director of the sales department. Besides duty-free shops, businesses like barbecue restaurants, cafes and high-end cosmetics stores including Innisfree offer tourists the option of paying via WeChat or Alipay.

What’s more, Alipay is currently seeking to increase its presence in European countries.

Beginning in October 2016, German jeweler Wempe will offer Chinese customers the opportunity to pay with the Alipay app at three of its outlets in the German cities of Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne, according to a joint press release by Alipay and Wempe on Sept. 16.

The press release also promised that, pending the successful implementation of Alipay in these three pilot stores, other German outlets of Wempe will also offer Alipay payment starting in early 2017.

According to the German National Tourist Board, overnight stays by Chinese guests increased more than twofold between 2004 and 2014, reaching over two million stays in 2014. And this trend is set to continue. The Financial Times calculated that Chinese tourists spend an average of $5,200, or around 4,650 euros, during their stays.

Rita Liu, head of Alipay’s Europe, Middle East and Africa divisions, welcomes the partnership: "For Alipay, the cooperation with Wempe is a vital step in our expansion [into] the German market and for gaining a foothold in the major metropolitan regions," Liu said. Since June of this year, the Chinese company has been working with Concardis to approach German retailers, the press release added.

Although tourists can get tax refunds via Alipay in the majority of European countries, it is still uncommon to be able to pay directly via Alipay in Europe, China News Service reported. Tourists can pay via Alipay in only one of the duty-free shops in Frankfurt International Airport, but they cannot pay by scanning QR codes in other stores.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Yuan Can, Bianji)

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