Preparations underway for 2018 China-EU Tourism Year | Updated: 2017-06-01 19:30

Preparations underway for 2018 China-EU Tourism Year

Alipay lands in the Santa Claus village at the Arctic Circle, Finland, in December, 2016. It signaled the first-ever mobile payment solution available in Finland. [Photo provided to China Daily]


WeChat Pay, a major Chinese mobile payment platform run by Internet mogul Tencent, expanded into the United Kingdom in May, where it offered a new payment option to British retailers looking to attract Chinese travelers.

WeChat Pay also became available in Italy during 2015, allowing Italian merchants to take mobile phone payments from Chinese users.

The system has enabled Chinese customers to make payments by scanning a barcode provided by the merchant, and will be rolled out in France and Germany.

The WeChat Pay European expansion further followed the rollout of Alipay, another Chinese mobile payment company and affiliate of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Alipay, which started operating in the UK two years ago, has already linked with powerful European banks – including BNP Paribas, Barclays and UniCredit – which has enabled about 930,000 merchants to join the payment network.

In the UK, Alipay has become an acceptable form of payment at many luxury stores and brand retailers, including Harrods in London. Alipay also has an additional 450 million active users in China.

Departure tax refunds services processed by Alipay have also become available in 23 countries, including Italy, Germany and Finland. The service will soon be launched in other European countries and regions, including the UK, France and Switzerland in summer.

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