Chinese tourists in Korea are increasingly shopping with mobile phones instead of using China-based bank card giant UnionPay’s cards, according to convenience store chain operator CU on Wednesday.
CU analyzed payments made through UnionPay cards and mobile payments for the first half of 2018 and said 87.2 percent of the payments were done through Chinese mobile payment services such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. Payments through UnionPay decreased to 12.8 percent.
Caption: A CU store has signs to inform customers it accepts Chinese mobile payments. (BGF Retail)
Alipay and WeChat Pay are widely used in China as alternatives to paper money and credit cards. Alipay began its service at CU in 2015 and WeChat Pay started in January.
The breakdown of mobile payments to UnionPay card payments was 65.7 percent to 34.3 percent in 2017, which was a reversal from 2016 when UnionPay was the dominant player at 35 percent to 65 percent.
CU said Tuesday the stores would also start accepting QR code mobile payments from UnionPay. Chinese tourists seem to prefer mobile payment services due to its convenience and safety, according to CU.
China is the world’s largest mobile payment market with over 90 percent of Chinese mobile-savvy tourists preferring to use mobile payment overseas, according to a Nielsen report in 2017.
Overseas spending by Chinese tourists last year was as high as $261.1 billion in 2016, according to statistics from the International Tourism Association. China saw 131 million overseas travelers in 2017.
By Chyung Eun-ju (firstname.lastname@example.org