alipay1More and more visitors visiting China every year, as the country eases visa requirements to boost tourism. In 2018, 30.5 million international visitors have been welcomed, an increase of 4.7 percent from the year before, according to government data. These tourists were spending already a total of US$73.1 billion last year. Alipay is China's most popular digital payment service, according to market researcher Statista, with 87% of survey respondents in the country aged between 18 and 69 reporting that they use Alipay for their digital financial needs.

Just now, Alipay introduced a version of its popular app designed specifically for international travelers so that they can enjoy the ease of paying with their mobile phones when visiting the Chinese mainland, too.

Together with its local e-wallet partners in Asia, Alipay serves already more than 1.2 billion users with its widely adopted QR code payment services. In China, users can also access services such as paying for taxis, hotel room bookings, and movie tickets, directly within the app. However, because access typically requires a local phone number and Chinese bank account, short-term international visitors previously could not use mobile payments in China – until now and we tell you how!

  • To begin using the International Version of Alipay, visitors can download Alipay for iOS or Android and register for the International Version of the app with an overseas mobile phone number to access the “Tour Pass” mini program. You will need to submit proof of a valid Chinese tourist visa and passport.  
  • Visitors can use their international debit or credit cards to load funds onto a prepaid card provided by the Bank of Shanghai within the “Tour Pass” mini program.
  • Minimum top-up for each card is CNY100, with balance capped at CNY2,000. The card is valid for 90 days, after which any remaining funds will be refunded automatically.
  • International travelers will be able to pay for shopping, dining, movie and attraction tickets, taxis and more when travelling in China. According to a week-long informal poll conducted by Alipay on Twitter, about 220 out of 1240 respondents, (18 percent) felt that the biggest annoyance when visiting China was not being able to pay with their mobile phones as the locals do. (Source: Alipay)

For the latest updates on using Alipay on your next trip to the Chinese mainland, visit the Alipay Twitter.