usinesses in the tourist-rich areas of Southeast Asia have experienced a significant growth in both customers and sales among mainland Chinese travelers after implementing Chinese mobile payment solutions, a survey has found.
According to a report by data analytics firm Nielsen, after adopting Chinese mobile payment system Alipay, nearly 60 percent of surveyed merchants in popular tourist attractions in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand experienced growth in both foot traffic and revenue from Chinese tourists after adopting Alipay.
Chinese travelers made 140 million outbound trips in 2018, based on the latest statistics from the China Tourism Academy, and they accounted for almost 50 percent of customers in Singapore and Thailand, while making up about 20 percent in Malaysia. More than two-thirds of them paid with their mobile phones while abroad, and the trend is almost equal among Chinese millennials and those born between 1970 and 1979.
As a result, many merchants in popular tourists attractions in the three Southeast Asian states are implementing mobile payment systems to tap into this market. Duty-free shops, large supermarkets, and department stores were the three most popular shopping locations for Chinese tourists. In addition, they tend to explore more diverse shopping outlets than they did the year before, such as small and medium-sized supermarkets, convenience stores, and cosmetic shops.
The report found that 90 percent of surveyed merchants had encountered Chinese customers that ask if mobile payment was accepted in their store. “Once, a dozen young Chinese tourists walked into our store, looking around with no intention to actually buy something,” said a senior manager of a small food and specialty store near the Petaling street, a popular tourist stretch in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. “One of them got a red packet of ¥25 for outbound travel on Alipay when paying for coffee products, and he eventually only paid ¥8. He shared the good news with his friends who became eager to try to win red packets and proceeded to make purchases.”
“The special offers by Alipay persuaded them into making actual purchases,” he added.
Mobile payment is not only popular among Chinese millennials, but it is widely used by different age groups of Chinese tourists while traveling abroad. For instance, 68 percent of Chinese tourists who were born between 1970 and 1979 used mobile payment while traveling overseas, according to the survey.
Witnessing the habits and preference of Chinese tourists, more overseas merchants are expected to adopt Chinese mobile payment solution. When asked whether they would recommend Alipay to their peers, 71 percent of Alipay-adopting merchants said they would probably do so. Among non-Alipay-adopting merchants, 59 percent said they would probably consider adopting Alipay.