Now, thanks to Alipay, visitors will be able to shop like locals: with an app on their phone.
"However, because access typically requires a local phone number and Chinese bank account, short-term worldwide visitors previously could not use mobile payments in China". China received 30.5 million of foreign visitors in 2018, an increase of 4.7 per cent from the previous year.
The news came as Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial added a similar function to its Alipay service that allows overseas bank cardholders to use the popular payment system when travelling in China.More news: Video captures Hong Kong lawmaker stabbing
As such, for the International Version of Alipay, visitors can use their international debit or credit cards to load funds onto a prepaid card provided by the Bank of Shanghai within the "Tour Pass" mini program. Tourists spending in areas such as hotels, shopping and food rose 5.1 per cent to US$73.1 billion a year ago, Ant Financial said.
The move will open the door for Ant Financial to tap into the growing visitors market.
The app allows visitors to top up on the worldwide version of the app that operates with the visitor's overseas phone, and then scan purchases at local Chinese merchants using a QR code.More news: Climate scientists warn of 'untold suffering' without major changes
If tourists and business travelers can access the ubiquitous Alipay terminals as if they were locals, it reduces the rationale for VISA and Mastercard to push for more widespread acceptance of worldwide payment cards on behalf of their customers.
The minimum top-up amount for each card is 100 yuan (~S$19.37), with the balance capped at 2,000 yuan (~S$387.44). Any remaining funds left at the end of the 90 days will be refunded.More news: Chargers owner Dean Spanos says London relocation report is B.S.