Payment system WeChatPay is gaining ground in Europe
WeChatPay has revolutionised payments in China. According to the company, the payment system has more than 600 million active users per month, making it the most widely used mobile payment app in China after Alipay. According to the market research firm iResearch, goods and services worth €3.47 billion were settled with mobile payment systems in the second quarter of this year. WeChatPay has a market share of 40%, Alipay has nearly 50%.
Chinese tourists prefer Alipay and WeChatPay as payment systems
Since this year in Germany, it’s possible to use Alipay to pay at the drugstore chain Rossmann, for example. German drugstores are very popular with Chinese tourists. There is lively trade in the drugstores’ own brands and in products, such as baby food, which are coveted in China. Chinese people living in Germany buy the products and send them home. This is often organised via WeChat. It is therefore not surprising that Rossmann will soon integrate WeChatPay into its check-outs.
With WeChatPay, users make cash-free payments with a QR code that is scanned by the merchant. The amount for the merchant is then deducted from the balance in the app. This is very convenient for Chinese tourists, who spend a lot of money shopping on their travels. Although international WeChat users can also use the payment function, it is rather complicated to top up the credit without a Chinese account. But you can receive payments if you have a credit card.
Around 70 shops at Munich Airport are now accepting Alipay and WeChatPay, the payment service of the Chinese messenger program WeChat. The payments are processed for the shops by the Munich-based payment service provider Wirecard. The retailers at Munich Airport are the first in Germany to accept WeChatPay. Frankfurt, where many Chinese tourists go shopping, is likely to follow soon.
Chinese payment systems have also become established in England and the USA
In England, London’s fourth-largest tourist attraction, Camden Market, has also introduced WeChatPay to enable Chinese tourists and the London-based Chinese community to shop using their preferred payment method.
The total spending by Chinese tourists in England is higher than that of European and American tourists combined, with 50% of the luxury purchases being made by customers from Asia.
Han Chin, Creative Director of the Studio Collection, says, “Chinese and other Asian students and tourists have flooded London in recent years. Recently, more and more of these buyers have noticed the existence of Camden Town. As a retailer, our job is to provide our customers with a flexible and enjoyable shopping experience, and WeChatPay enables us to cater to the new visitor demographic.”
WeChat also plans to conquer the US market. Thanks to hardware developed in the US, a Chinese WeChat user only needs to get out their phone and scan the merchant’s QR code to pay. Chinese users do not have to leave the platform. According to its own data, the hardware manufacturer Citkon already works with approximately 360 traders, including hotels, airports, museums, restaurants, and amusement parks.
German retailers should cater to Chinese buyers
More than two million Chinese tourists travel to Germany every year, and they mainly buy well-known luxury goods. In 2015, tourists from China spent $292 billion abroad.
In the three months since the introduction of Alipay, there has been a 92% increase in the average spend of Chinese tourists in the businesses at Munich airport.
Seven Zahn, Managing Director of Eurotrade Munich Airport Retail GmbH says: “Given the excellent results achieved with Alipay, it was an easy call to offer WeChatPay as a new payment method. In addition, Chinese guests planning their stay in Europe work out their shopping lists well in advance. That’s why it’s important for us to use the marketing platforms that mobile payment apps offer us. ”
If a Chinese tourist spends an average of 3000 euros, then it pays for retailers to invest in the Chinese payment system as the number of tourists increases. The demand is greatest for luxury goods such as clothing, jewellery, and watches, and for cosmetics and household goods from well-known brands, and for baby food.
If toys and other items are to be marketed, then it pays to advertise via appropriate Internet platforms. This is because the Chinese market is a growth market, without which the German car companies, for example, would not survive. Made in Germany still has a good reputation in China.
Bild: JaCZhou / iStock