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How to welcome Chinese travellers to your business

Friday 15 March 2019 | 08:53 AM CET

Delphine Bos, SafeCharge: China has experienced the highest growth in cashless payments. What is now a Chinese trend will soon become a global standard

With more than 130 million citizens travelling around the globe in 2017, Chinese tourists have become the overseas shoppers carrying the highest spending power amounting to a staggering USD 115 billion on a yearly basis. The impact they have on local economies is so strong that businesses across industries can no longer afford to ignore this demographic. To remain successful in today’s globalised economy, merchants must learn how to engage Chinese travellers and deliver a shopping experience that is tailored to their specific needs and habits. When it comes to payments, it means that businesses must be able to accept QR-code based payments methods such as WeChat Pay and Alipay online and at the point of sale (POS), to drive engagement and increase conversion rates.

There is a lot to learn about this new type of customers and their needs, and this is why SafeCharge has released a new white paper titled “Preparing your business to welcome Chinese shoppers” to help merchants understand how to convert visitors into customers, and get started with accepting their preferred payment methods.

What are Chinese travellers looking for?

Chinese travellers overseas have developed a unique consumer culture, with shopping becoming an ingrained part of the trip. Their purchasing power far outperforms that of other tourist groups – Chinese tourists spend an average of USD 762 on shopping, compared to just USD 486 by their Western counterparts. Importantly, mobile payments are always Chinese consumers’ preferred method of purchase when shopping abroad. Being extremely tech-savvy, Chinese travellers connect their mobiles as soon as they touch ground, looking for peer-to-peer recommendations and good bargains. 41% of Chinese tourists believe that a local merchant’s ability to accept mobile payment methods, such as Alipay or WeChat Pay, is a key factor in driving them to the checkout counter and consider this factor as important as the price of the goods they are planning to buy.

Why should merchants adapt to Chinese shoppers’ preferences?

Chinese tourists are the biggest spenders globally, with an average of USD 3,754 spent per person in 2017 when travelling to Europe, excluding tour group fees and transportation costs of their journey. Their overseas expenditures now represent 21% of the global tourism spending, surpassing American tourists. Considering that just 7% of Chinese citizens currently possess a passport, the potential for even more growth is immense. The number of overseas trips is projected to grow from 145 million to more than 400 million by 2030. That means that China will soon generate a quarter of global tourism.

How can retailers be attractive to Chinese shoppers?

A holistic approach is key to adapt to Chinese customers. Chinese people spend an average of 3 hours a day on their smartphones, therefore it is crucial for international retailers to learn how to create an effective online presence. A strong indexing on Baidu, a Chinese website, a Weibo and a WeChat account, for instance, are the very first channels to be created to engage customers even before they start their trip.

Offering Chinese mobile payment methods makes it easy for Chinese tourists to buy and encourages them to spend more. Once merchants accept these Chinese mobile payments, they also should remember to make this new offering visible to visitors at the POS. On-site signage and posters written in Mandarin at the door or next to payment terminals incite Chinese consumers to enter the store and increase their foot traffic.

Alipay and WeChat Pay: the next addition to a successful payment method mix online and in-store

China has experienced the highest growth in cashless payments. What is now a Chinese trend will soon become a global standard, and the two payment giants Alipay and WeChat Pay are now expanding on an international scale.

Unless merchants have a company registered in China, they need to apply for a ‘cross-border account’, via an Alipay and WeChat partner such as SafeCharge. As one of the first payment companies to help businesses accept these payment methods online and at the POS, SafeCharge has been instrumental into growing the acceptance of WeChat Pay and Alipay in Europe.

SafeCharge has developed a dedicated POS mobile app which enables businesses to easily accept this new wave of mobile payments, whether in a brick-and-mortar shop, a pop-up store, or an outdoor market, without the need for a heavy technical integration. Through a simple process, sellers can enter the transaction amount and select the desired payment method. Sellers then have two options to continue the transaction - either the seller generates a QR code for the buyer to scan, or the seller can scan the QR code generated by the buyer. Either way, sellers can view the transaction status in the app, as well as SafeCharge Control Panel.

The world is gradually moving on to mobile payments and there is no doubt that businesses need to adapt to evolving shopping trends. SafeCharge’s white paper gives merchants fresh insights into understanding how to be more attractive to Chinese shoppers and unlock the great potential of new business.

About Delphine Bos

In her role of CMO at SafeCharge, Delphine is driving all the company’s strategic and operational marketing. Delphine has over 15 years of experience in marketing of payments technologies and joined SafeCharge from Adyen where she was Head of Global Marketing. Previously Delphine worked at EMS Card, a First Data company and at GlobalCollect (now Ingenico Payments), where she was leading marketing activities.

About SafeCharge

SafeCharge International Group is the payment service partner for the world’s most demanding businesses. SafeCharge provides global omni-channel payments services from card acquiring and issuing to payment processing and checkout, all underpinned by advanced risk management solutions. This fully featured proprietary payment platform connects directly to all major payment card schemes including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Union Pay as well as over 150 local payment methods. With offices around the world, SafeCharge serves a diversified, blue chip client base and is a trusted payment partner for customers across a range of vertical markets. The company has been listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market since 2014.

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