Mobile payment firms compete to allow Chinese tourists to make payments in US

Global Business

Chinese mobile payment giant Alipay reached a deal in May to allow its users to make purchases at 4 million U.S. merchants served by payments processor First Data Corp.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports from San Francisco.

Last year, China processed $2.3 trillion in mobile payments 14 times more than in the U.S.

So as 5 million Chinese tourists are expected to make their way to the U.S. this year some may experience culture shock in dealing with older payment methods.

 Zheng Ming family is visiting from Shanghai to celebrate his university graduation in San Francisco.

“Like my mom, she doesn’t have the credit card, and she bring a lot of cash, but sometimes by cash is difficult like in U.S. As for me, in China I always use my phone to pay,” he said. ;
Fortunately the group is dining at Crystal Jade, one of the first U.S. restaurants to accept both Alipay and WeChat Pay mobile payments.
Crystal Jade Marketing Manager Catherine Fenelon lived in China for a number of years, so recognizes the value of accepting Chinese mobile payments.
“The day we put up the sign at our door we had a lot of people coming in straight away, they were really excited about it.  Actually, the majority of people who use our payment they don’t speak English so it’s just so much easier for them to use a payment method that they are used to using,” Fenelon said.

This is the first web-based processing system in the U.S. that accepts Alipay and Wechat Pay.
It called Citcon a Silicon valley startup founded by Paypal and Visa veteran Chuck Huang.
“The global payment industry certainly embraced ideas to enable the mobile wallet. But it happens in the U.S. we spend  billions of dollars it not very successful but for the Chinese consumer, they adopt this type of wallet on the mobile phone much faster, so hopefully we can use that kind of consumer adoption to move the needle,” Huang said.
Alipay and WeChat Pay will be taking on a lot of competitors that already have a head start in the U.S. market such as ApplePay and AndroidPay both which incorporate technology called NFC or near-field communication.  But technologically, Alipay and Wechat may have an advantage by using a QR code reading system to make the payments. 

Citcon estimates Chinese travelers will spend $30 billion in the U.S. this year and for that to double by 2020.

Shops and restaurants best positioned to cash in on that influx may not only have great products, but payment systems that make customers feel right at home.

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