A new report from McKinsey points to the increasing use of mobile payments by the fast-rising number of Chinese tourists who travel abroad.
The report on China’s overseas travel market released in September indicates that Chinese nationals made over 131 million trips abroad in 2017, while their one-way trip consumer amounts are now first in the world.
The report also found that Chinese tourists are increasingly willing to use digital payment channels in lieu of cash while travelling abroad, with an average mobile payments usage rate of 43% for those under 45 years of age.
Chinese tourists are also making increasing use of travel apps and mobile payments for domestic travel.
According to state media 79% of independent travellers in China used mobile channels to book accommodation in 2017, while a survey from the China E-Commerce Research Center (中国电子商务研究中心) indicates that 60% of mobile phone users would like to use their phones to make online bookings and payments or planes, hotels, restaurants and tourism admissions.
The popularity of mobile payments amongst Chinese travellers has prompted China’s third party payments giants to expand abroad, with Tencent’s WeChat Pay available in 40 countries and supporting direct settlement in 13 currencies.
UnionPay International also recently inked a cooperative deal with Uzbekistan’s Uzcard and member bank Aloqabank, to replace 10 million Uzcards with Unionpay-Uzcard chip cards prior to the end of 2021.
Dong Ximiao (董希淼), guest researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, said that alignment of China’s domestic mobile payments standards with international standards would play a key role in future efforts to expand abroad.
“China’s mobile payments sector is performing very well in specific niche areas, but still hasn’t given enough attention to the export of standards or efforts to gain international influence,” said Dong.
“This is a core factor that truly affects their ability to expand abroad.”