Sunday, 25 February 2024

Chinese tourists' Alipay spending during Golden Week exceeds 2019 levels

5 min read

Alipay, the leading digital payment and service platform, today reported that the average spending of outbound Chinese travelers during the first five days of China’s National Day holiday 2023 -- from 29 September to 6 October -- has surpassed the level in 2019, as the growth momentum for outbound Chinese tourism since the beginning of 2023 continues.

Shopping continues to be one of the most beloved activities among Chinese tourists when they travel abroad. During the period, the highest expenditure via Alipay was on purchasing goods, including skincare products and duty-free goods, surpassing spending on all other activities. Food and beverages, as well as accommodation, ranked as the second and third largest spending categories, respectively.

In addition to paying for goods and services with the Alipay app, Chinese tourists have increasingly turned to the various digital travel services on Alipay to elevate their travel experience. During the first five days of the holiday, currency exchange, Coupon Hub, tax refund, and transportation were the most used services by Alipay users. In particular, the number of transportation-related transactions rose 16 times compared with the same period in 2019.

Alipay in collaboration with its partners worldwide now provides a full suite of travel services to outbound Chinese tourists, ranging from hotel and air-ticket booking, in-store payment, taxi-hailing, public transport, food delivery to tax refund. Alipay users can order a taxi in over 2,000 cities outside the Chinese mainland. During this holiday, they can also enjoy extra 20% tax refund from major retailers in France, Italy and Spain. The Coupon Hub contains offers, some of exclusive to Alipay users, provided by brands in most destinations.

A recent survey on Chinese outbound tourism found that Chinese travellers of all ages embrace digital technology in travel planning and prefer mobile payments, with an overwhelming 84% expecting to use mobile payments, such as Alipay. Chinese consumers prefer mobile payments for their transparent and favourable exchange rates (60%); discounts and other value-added services offered (60%); expense tracking facilitation (56%); and safety and convenience over cash (55%).

Chinese travellers also prefer personalised services such as Chinese-language shopping guides (83%) and exclusive offers. Local merchants keen on luring Chinese tourists may need to gear up for Chinese mobile payment methods and consider offering other value-added services tailored for Chinese tourists, according to the study carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Finance Innovation at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

The most popular destinations based on total spending via Alipay remained largely consistent with the previous major holidays this year. Geographically close Asian destinations, including Hong Kong SAR, Singapore and Malaysia, and European countries, such as France and Italy, continued to dominate the list. However, there was a notable increase in Chinese tourist spending via Alipay in less-explored destinations like Estonia and Qatar compared to the same period in 2019, indicating a shift in travel preferences.

Alipay is a partner e-wallet of Alipay+. Created as a suite of cross-border mobile payment and marketing solutions by Ant Group, Alipay+ now works with about 30 leading e-wallets. With its recent extension into the Chinese mainland, the service now connects tens of millions of merchants worldwide to over 1.4 billion payment accounts in Asia and beyond. Consumers enjoy seamless payment and a broad choice of deals using their preferred payment methods while travelling abroad.

From 29 September to 6 October, the number of daily transactions by inbound visitors to China using the 10 Alipay+ partner e-wallets such as AlipayHK, mPay, Hipay, OCBC, Changi Pay, Touch 'n Go eWallet, TrueMoney, Kakao Pay, Naver Pay and Toss Pay increased by as much as 200%.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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