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

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Specifically about three quarters of Chinese tourists used mobile payments on their most recent trips to Singapore, Thailand, or Malaysia.
JANUARY 24, 2019 - 6:08 PM

Southeast Asian merchants are leading those in other regions in benefiting from Chinese mobile payment, according to data from the 2018 Trends for Mobile Payment in Chinese Outbound Tourism survey conducted by Nielsen and Alipay. 

Specifically about three quarters of Chinese tourists used mobile payments on their most recent trips to Singapore, Thailand, or Malaysia, surpassing that for the United States and Canada (61 per cent), United Kingdom, France and Germany (60 per cent), and Australia and New Zealand (68 per cent). 

The study, which surveyed 2,806 Chinese travelers, found that outbound Chinese tourists made more mobile transactions compared with cash payments for the first time. Although the bankcard is still the most popular payment method among Chinese tourists, this year saw an increase in the share of mobile payment transactions. On their most recent travels overseas, Chinese tourists surveyed paid for 32 per cent of transactions with mobile phones, overtaking cash for the first time, which was used only 30 per cent of transactions.

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Indeed, a whopping 9 out of 10 of surveyed merchants in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand reported encountering Chinese customers who inquired whether mobile payment was accepted in their stores. Meanwhile, 93 per cent of surveyed Chinese tourists said they would likely increase their spending if mobile payment was more widely accepted, a higher figure than that in 2017's survey. 

Currently, 58 per cent of surveyed merchants located in areas frequented by Chinese tourists in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand accept mobile payment, with 70 per cent of them accepting Chinese mobile payment. By comparison, only 12 per cent of them accepted Chinese mobile payment in 2016.

Retail merchants in particular, saw the highest adoption rate of Chinese mobile payment solutions, with 75 per cent of supermarkets and convenience stores and 71 per cent of duty-free stores now accepting mobile payment. Of those yet to accept mobile payment, 55 per cent said they are very likely to accept Chinese mobile payment solutions in the future. 

It also found that the average budget for Chinese tourists traveling abroad has increased to over US$6,026 per person in 2018 and expected to rise further in 2019.