A new mobile payment app in China now makes it possible for tourists and business travelers to use mobile payments on the mainland in the country—something that wasn’t possible before.
Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial launched a new international version of its mobile payments app Alipay this week. Analysts say the service now removes major obstacles to payments for visitors.
Ant Financial said that the new international service will allow it to tap into the growing number of visitors to China, who numbered nearly 31 million in 2018 and spent about $73 billion, according to government statistics.
Alipay users will be able to download and buy prepaid cards within the app using international debit and credit cards. The prepaid cards expire after 90 days and any remaining money is automatically refunded.
Alibaba and Tencent are the major players in the cashless payments market China. Their Alipay and WeChat Pay platforms have largely replaced plastic cards for payments in the country.
China saw $42 trillion in mobile payments in 2018, a doubt digit increase from five years previously, according to a report from the People's Bank of China.