Alipay has tripled its number of merchants in Europe to “tens of thousands” in the past year.
“We’re talking about tens of thousands of merchants who are really excited about the opportunity that Alipay provides them to tap into those wealthy and middle-class consumers, who are traveling to see the world and want to buy great brands from Europe,” said Roland Palmer, head of Europe for Alipay, according to CNBC.
Palmer added that Alipay has “around 1 billion” active users, with 55 countries now accepting Alipay — 29 countries in Europe alone. While trade tensions with the U.S., and slow growth, have caused concerns about the Chinese economy, Palmer dismissed these fears, noting that tourism for Chinese travelers is “booming” in Europe.
In fact, earlier this year, a survey by Nielsen, a global information and measurement company, and Alipay found that the average budget for travelers has increased, and more of them are using mobile payment systems than ever before. In fact, mobile payments surpassed cash payments for the first time in 2018, with 32 percent of all transactions going mobile.
The push helped overseas merchants as well, with 58 percent saying that they integrated Alipay and found that more people came to their stores. In addition, 56 percent said they experienced better sales.
Chinese tourists also traveled more than ever, visiting an average of 2.8 countries or regions, an increase from 2.1 in the previous year. Travel budgets were up 15 percent to $6,706, as well as spending, which was up 6 percent to $6,026. Last year, Chinese tourists traveled to more exotic locales, like Western Asia and Africa. As for Chinese millennials, born between 1990 and 1999, 5 percent even traveled to Nordic countries.
The survey showed that there were three main categories of purchases for Chinese tourists: shopping, accommodations and dining. In addition, three major factors made up those buying decisions: discounts, quality and pricing.