Editor’s note: Eighty-four percent of Chinese people now use debit cards less than once per week. High-end Chinese travelers now expect to be able can use their mobile payment apps abroad. This story was first published on Jing Travel.
Alipay’s international expansion is showing no signs of slowing down just yet, and perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in its recently released Labor Day statistics. Ant Financial reports that during China’s Sunday-Tuesday Labor Day national holiday, the number of international transactions grew five-fold over last year.
However, the top destinations where Chinese tourists used Alipay remained unchanged from last year. Both this year and the last, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and Macau made up the top-5 destinations in terms of transaction volume. While it can certainly be argued that these destinations are ahead in Alipay retail adoption, they also happen to be the most-visited destinations by Chinese tourists—so in many ways, it’s an expected result.
The good news for international retailers is that not only did the number of transactions climb, but also the average spending per user. This year, users spent 1,508 yuan ($237.41) on average, up 60 percent year-over-year. With growing adoption of Alipay in international destinations allowing users to process more of their international payments via the platform, it should perhaps not come as a surprise that spending per user is rising as well.
Beyond destinations within a short-haul distance of China, things are a little bit different, mostly owing to a recent expansion of Alipay. For example, Ant Financial recorded a 16-fold increase of Alipay use in Canada, a 12-fold increase in the Netherlands, and an 11-fold rise in the Czech Republic. While certainly underlining the company’s international expansion as of late, very high growth rates are to be expected in destinations where Alipay barely existed before.
At the same time, Alipay users in Europe spent significantly more than their peers in most short-haul destinations, with 6 of the 10 countries with the highest average user spending located in Europe.
More surprising, perhaps, is that Ant Financial reports that a large majority of international Alipay users are women—with women representing close to two-thirds of all overseas use during the Labor Day holiday.
In addition to being preferred by women, Ant Financial’s Labor Day report also found that its mobile payment service is preferred by Chinese millennials to an even more significant degree. According to the report, 85 percent of users overseas were born in the ’80s and ’90s.
What better way to celebrate international worker’s day than by spending hard-earned money in international destinations?