Mobile payment was the most popular way China’s outbound tourists chose to spend their cash during the recent May Day holiday, according to a report from the nation’s leading mobile payment service.
China’s Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Japan, topped the mobile payment chart by user number among mainland visitors during the three-day holiday, Alipay revealed in a report on April 2.
They were followed by Thailand, the United States and South Korea, sought-after destinations where Chinese use their smartphones to pay for meals, order taxis and get their consumption tax refunded.
A greater number of such consumers come from the relatively affluent coastal areas, with Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing being the top three sources of origin, the report said, based on an analysis of user demographics.
Nearly two-thirds of outbound payments were made by women, the report said.
Meanwhile, those born in the 1990s constitute the single largest age group for shopping overseas, surpassing the older generation for the first time.
The study also found that international retail chains are now well equipped with Chinese payment tools and Chinese-language guides in order to serve these digital-savvy tourists.
During the three-day holiday, the food and beverage chains handling the most transactions via Alipay were McDonald’s, Hong Kong’s Tsui Wah Restaurant and Starbucks. More travelers used Alipay at tourist attractions such as Hong Kong Ocean Park, Hong Kong Disneyland and Taipei’s iconic skyscraper Taipei 101.
Taxi customers in Australia even benefited from a 10 percent discount for payments conducted via Alipay during the holiday.
Using Alipay to get tax refunds now takes only a blink of an eye, circumventing the trouble of filling in lengthy forms containing billing details, and the subsequent months of waiting.
During the three-day vacation, South Korea, France and Germany witnessed the highest number of tax refunds being conducted among the 29 economies where such a service is available.
“China has embraced mobile payments faster than any other country, and will continue to lead the global charge in this regard,” said Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen China.
The Alipay survey echoed a study by Nielsen in February, which showed that more than 90 percent of Chinese tourists would use mobile payment overseas given the option.