Golden Week for China’s Mobile Payments Abroad

Editor’s note: During the past Golden Week holiday in China, overseas outlet malls, particularly those selling luxury goods at a discount, saw surging interest from Chinese travelers. These figures, provided by China’s major mobile payment players Alipay and WeChat Pay, shed light on where the Chinese consumer trend stands. While the companies did not release the top destinations for mobile payments, Alipay noted destinations that saw the largest increases in transaction volume, a list that includes airports and luxury outlet malls. This story originally published on Jing Travel, the sister site of Jing Daily. 


Chinese tourists headed out in record numbers during the National Day holiday/Golden Week from October 1 to 7, visiting more than 1,000 cities worldwide. Data from Ctrip and Alibaba show some new trends emerged.

  • Ctrip reported that only 12 percent of outbound travelers prioritized shopping on their Golden Week trips. Food and entertainment and arts and culture topped Ctrip’s survey of travelers.
  • Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group and operator of Alipay, told Jing Travel that overseas spending via Alipay during the holiday period increased from the previous year, with in-store transactions increasing by 2.2 times.
  • Alipay saw its average total spending per user increase 30 percent year-on-year to about $288 (RMB 1,979), with Denmark, France, and Italy leading the list in average total spend per user. The United States and Canada saw an average of $275 (RMB 1,888) of spending per user. Switzerland saw transaction volume increase 27 times from the same period last year.
  • The most popular destinations for Alipay transactions were in Asia, which were also the most popular destinations reported by Ctrip. Excluding Hong Kong and Macau, the top overseas destinations based on transaction volume were Thailand and Japan, respectively.
  • Alipay noted that twice as many women used the mobile payment platform during the holiday than men.

Considering 61 percent of overseas travelers were 31-40 years old and only 20 percent of travelers were older, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that mobile payment use is increasing. However, consumption trends are changing among travelers, with even luxury Chinese travelers spending less per trip.

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The top 10 fastest growing destinations for Alipay during Golden Week

  1. Bicester Village luxury outlets, Bicester, U.K.
  2. Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan
  3. Sydney Airport, Australia
  4. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris, France
  5. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
  6. Chinatown, Toronto, Canada
  7. Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kuala Lumpur
  8. The Mall luxury outlet, Florence, Italy
  9. Flushing, New York, U.S.
  10. Myeong-dong, Seoul, South Korea

Tencent did not release detailed data related to the holiday, but it reported some spending trends through its mobile payment service. The company noted that 52 percent of WeChat Pay transactions during the holiday were at duty-free shops.

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Mobile, Tech