Several major U.S. retailers are now tapping into mobile technology to provide Chinese travelers with more payment options when shopping.

China is widely seen as the world’s leading users of mobile payments and an example of a society that no longer operates on a cash basis. It’s been estimated that China has at least 520 million mobile payment users.

According to Nielsen, at least 65% of Chinese tourists have used various mobile payment platforms to pay their transaction when traveling overseas.

It is six times more than the 11% rate among non-Chinese tourists. Chinese tourists also spent an average of $762 during most of their overseas trip.

“Chinese travelers love to shop when they are abroad… It is typical of Chinese tourists to travel and shop with a specific brand or item in mind. But they often face language and payment barriers… Using mobile wallets to make purchases in their own currency gets Chinese consumers past this obstacle”

Souheil Badran, President of Alipay of the Americas.

Alipay Brings Cashless Transactions to The U.S. Market


Alibaba is now making a major attempt to enter the U.S. market through its affiliate, Alipay.

According to online travel agency Ctrip, in February alone 6.5 million Chinese traveled overseas during the Lunar New Year, with the U.S. ranked as a top destination.

According to Axios, Alipay will try to penetrate the U.S. market further by getting more individual luxury brands and boutique hotels to accept their payment service.

Alipay has been expanding aggressively over the past year, ensuring that it’s ahead of its competition from other Chinese payment services such as WeChat Pay, Business Insider wrote.

A lot of Chinese consumers are familiar with the Alipay Mobile Wallet. The app’s security features make tourists feel more comfortable when shopping overseas, making it popular with Chinese tourists.

According to Fung Global Retail Tech, at least two-thirds of Chinese tourists say that the option to pay via mobile is a crucial factor in choosing a retail store while traveling.

Small Business Opportunity

But Chinese travelers are not just a marketing opportunity for large businesses. Accepting Alipay may provide smaller retailers in tourist areas of the U.S. access to Chinese travelers.

A recent collaboration with Yelp by Alipay may even help promote the fact that a retailer is accepting Alipay.

And small retailers that operate online stores may further benefit from attracting Chinese tourists by offering online global shipping using Alipay.

So, if a retailer attracts the tourist to come to the store, they may wish to maintain the relationship of a trusted partner to purchase western goods.

The opportunity for small business retailers may be mostly in niche markets, but if adding Alipay provides a simple way to attract the valuable Chinese tourist, what does one have to lose?

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