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Southeast Asian merchants lead in benefiting from Chinese mobile payment; Nielsen report

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Thu, 01/24/2019 - 06:00

Surveying 2,806 Chinese travelers, the report finds the average budget for Chinese tourists traveling abroad has increased to over USD 6,026 per person in 2018.

Nielsen and Alipay jointly released a new survey, 2018 Trends for Mobile Payment in Chinese Outbound Tourism, providing an analysis of the latest trends in outbound tourism and the consumption habits and preferences of Chinese travelers.

Surveying 2,806 Chinese travelers, the report finds the average budget for Chinese tourists traveling abroad has increased to over USD 6,026 per person in 2018 and expected to rise further in 2019. In addition, outbound Chinese tourists made more transactions via mobile payment than cash for the first time.

In 2018, about three-quarters of Chinese tourists used mobile payment on their most recent trips to Singapore, Thailand or Malaysia, surpassing that for the United States and Canada (61%), United Kingdom, France and Germany (60%), and Australia and New Zealand (68%), indicating that Southeast Asian merchants are leading those in other regions in terms of benefiting from Chinese mobile payment. 

The survey finds Chinese mobile payment solutions help to boost the operations of overseas merchants — nearly 60% of the overseas merchants surveyed that adopted Alipay experienced growth in both foot traffic and revenue after their mobile payment systems were implemented. As a result, 71% of Alipay-adopting merchants said they are likely to recommend Alipay to their peers.

Other key findings include:
  • Outbound Chinese tourists traveled to more destinations in 2018, with respondents visiting an average of 2.8 countries/ regions, up from 2.1 in 2017. Both the average actual spending and travel budget for outbound Chinese tourists increased year on year – the former up by 6% to USD 6,026 and the latter up by 15% to USD 6,706.
  • Shopping, accommodations and dining remained the top three categories for purchases by Chinese tourists. Discounts, quality and pricing are the three key factors weighing on Chinese tourists' shopping decisions.
  • More Chinese tourists are adopting mobile payment while travelling overseas with more than two-thirds (69%) paying with their mobile phones abroad, up 4% from the previous year. On their most recent overseas trips, Chinese tourists paid for 32% of transactions using mobile payment, overtaking cash for the first time.
  • 90% of surveyed merchants in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand reported encountering Chinese customers who inquired whether mobile payment was accepted in their stores. Meanwhile, 93% of surveyed Chinese tourists would likely increase their spending if mobile payment was more widely accepted - a higher figure than that in 2017’s survey.
  • Currently, 58% of surveyed merchants located in areas frequented by Chinese tourists in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand accept mobile payment, with 70% of that number accepting Chinese mobile payment. By comparison, only 12% of them accepted Chinese mobile payment in 2016, underscoring the rapid adoption of Chinese mobile payment solutions by SEA merchants to leverage Chinese purchasing power. 
  • Retail merchants in particular, saw the highest adoption rate of Chinese mobile payment solutions, with 75% of supermarkets and convenience stores and 71% of duty-free stores now accepting mobile payment.
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Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.