Published: Wed, November 06, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Alipay available for short-term overseas visitors in China

Alipay available for short-term overseas visitors in China

"Starting immediately, visitors can download Alipay for both iOS and Android devices, and register for the International Version of the app with their overseas mobile phone number to access the "Tour Pass" mini program", Alipay explains.

Travelers are able to use Alipay's "Tour Pass" program, which allows them to use a prepaid card service from the Bank of Shanghai.

Visiting China? You can soon pay for your purchases with Alipay. However, if a user needs to open the payment function in the app, a local phone number and a Chinese bank account are required, which is inconvenient for short-term global visitors.

The report indicated that WeChat Pay and Union Pay may boost tourism in China.

Tencent is in talks with five global card issuers, including Visa and MasterCard, to gauge the feasibility of letting foreign travelers link their overseas bank debit and credit cards to WeChat Pay, according to a report published yesterday on the company's news portal.

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China is the fourth most visited country in the world, with 56.9 million global tourists per year, behind France, the United States and Spain. It added that tourists also were spending more across various sectors such as hospitality, shopping, and food, forking out 5.1% more previous year to hit $73.1 billion.

On other news, the Financial Times revealed that Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba, also restructured their business allowing Alibaba to take 33 percent and clear the way for an Ant Financial IPO.

Ant Financial, Alibaba's financial services spin off company and creator of Alipay digital payments, has announced that their market leading payment platform is now available for all foreign users to pay in China.

The Alipay mobile app for global users comes with some restrictions.

"Minimum top-up for each card is CNY100 (US$14.29), with [the] balance capped at CNY2,000 (US$285.81)". The card is valid for 90 days, after which the balance will be refunded.

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