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Chinese tourists driving mobile payment growth in Southeast Asia

(Photo credit: Reuters)

With Chinese tourist being the top spender in terms of tourism dollar over the world, and a strong preference for mobile payment abroad, many retailers are trying to implement mobile payment systems catering to Chinese tourist. This is especially true for Southeast Asia (SEA) merchants as SEA is the top travel destinations for Chinese tourist.

In order to gain a slice of the Chinese tourist market overseas worth US$429 billion, WeChatPay, UnionPay & AliPay had forged many partnerships oversea recently. Some noticeable partnerships includes Changi Airport with WeChatPay and LiquidPay with UnionPay. They have been actively seek merchants to expand, with cheaper transaction rates than major credit card companies due to its operating model.

Furthermore, a research by Nielsen & Alipay shows that more than 90% of Chinese tourist would use mobile payment overseas given the option, and by implementing Chinese mobile payments like WeChat Pay, Alipay and UnionPay, merchants does not only drive more sales, but larger sales volume per purchase. This had enabled more merchants hoping on to adopt Chinese mobile payment modes recently.

So why mobile payment is so popular among Chinese tourist?

1. Strategic Partnerships to bring greater savings
Strategic partnership by WeChatPay and AliPay with local companies had enabled favourable foreign rates and discounts or promotions. One example is the recent collaboration by WeChatPay with Singapore Changi Airport, where shoppers can enjoy 50RMB (Approx. $10.40) discount for every 500 RMB (Approx. $104.40) spent. Furthermore, many shoppers can optimise mobile wallet loyalty program and rebate vouchers for even greater savings, such as Marina Bay Sands WeChat ibeacon promotions.

2. Security
The top reason for Chinese tourist to use mobile payment option is security and many fear not being able to receive SMS notification when paying with their card or double payments. Chinese tourist also fear feeling awkward or embarrassed if they card payment fails to go through.

3. Convenience
Another reason for the use of mobile wallet is due to its convenience and ease of payment that come with mobile wallets. Simply scan the QR code payment on the cashier and the payment can be done through their phone. In addition, it provide a way to easily track one spending.

4. Tax Refund services for tourist
Alipay & WeChat Pay, China’s biggest mobile payment platforms enable instant tax refund at some of SEA airport like Singapore Changi Airport, which enable tourist to save up time on queuing at airports.

5. Cash no longer key
With changing preference of going cashless in China, they no longer have a habit of holding large amount of cash. Furthermore, Chinese tourist may have difficulties in recognising foreign currency. Hence, they prefer going cashless.

6. Avoid coins
Another reason why Chinese tourist prefer mobile payment is to avoid small change. Coins are usually not preferred by tourist as they are heavy and difficult to change back to their own currency. Hence, they must carry these coins back to their country, keeping them for their next trip.

About FOMO Pay

FOMO Pay provides one-stop QRCode Payment Solution which enables merchants to accept a full suite of new payment methods including WeChat Pay, NETSPay, mVISA, Grab Pay, Baidu Wallet, Best Pay, etc. Launched in 2016 with more than 1000 merchants acquired within a year, FOMO Pay is trusted by major companies including SPH, Marina Bay Sands, StarHub, JUMBO, Club 21, CHANEL, etc. With FOMO Pay, merchants can unlock true business potential by giving customers the payment options they prefer and adopt cashless payment easily. FOMO Pay is also sitting in MAS SGQR Taskforce to promote QR code payment and make Singapore a cashless society.