China, the proud host of the 19th Asian Games, held in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8, has left no stone unturned in providing improved payment services to cater to the needs of overseas tourists attending the event.
Recent statistics from Alipay, a prominent online payment service provider in China, reveal a remarkable surge in the average daily transaction volume through its platform since the commencement of the Hangzhou Asian Games for international users. Transactions witnessed a remarkable increase of 68.8 percent compared to the average daily figures in August.
Back in July, both Alipay and WeChat Pay, another major Chinese online payment platform, announced a significant development. They allowed overseas bank cardholders to seamlessly link their cards to Alipay or WeChat accounts, facilitating smoother financial transactions.
In the run-up to the Hangzhou Asian Games, Ant Group, the parent company of Alipay, warmly embraced seven leading e-wallets and payment apps from various Asian countries into the “Alipay+-in-China” (A+China) Program.
Users of mPay from Macao SAR, Hipay from Mongolia, Changi Pay from Singapore, OCBC from Singapore, Naver Pay and Toss Pay from the Republic of Korea (ROK), and TrueMoney from Thailand are now able to utilize their familiar homegrown e-wallets on their smartphones. This enables them to enjoy seamless mobile payment experiences within the Chinese mainland across Alipay’s extensive merchant network.
This recent inclusion has expanded the roster of accepted overseas e-wallets in the Chinese mainland to an impressive total of 10. AlipayHK from Hong Kong SAR, Touch ‘n Go eWallet from Malaysia, and Kakao Pay from ROK spearheaded the program in late 2022. In total, these payment methods collectively serve a population exceeding 175 million across Southeast and East Asia, according to data from Ant Group.
Users of these e-wallets can utilize their preferred payment applications wherever Alipay is accepted, ensuring secure, hassle-free, cashless transactions with transparent and competitive exchange rates.
In response to the growing demands of international visitors in China and to offer them more convenient access to mobile payments and digital services, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the nation’s central bank, has been actively guiding relevant institutions to enhance payment convenience.
The payment services for overseas individuals coming to China have received significant upgrades. They can now register and establish a digital RMB wallet using an overseas mobile phone number through the E-CNY app. This wallet can be easily recharged using Visa or Mastercard cards, making payments more accessible. Any remaining balance on the wallet can be seamlessly transferred back to the associated bank cards.
Highlighting the remarkable progress in China’s payment services over the years, Zhang Qingsong, Deputy Governor of the PBOC, noted that the central bank has been diligently working with payment institutions to simplify foreign card linking processes, adhere to legal and regulatory guidelines in accepting overseas wallets, and enhance payment convenience for foreigners residing or visiting China. These efforts aim to promote cross-border cultural and economic exchanges, facilitating a smoother experience for all.