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Weixin Pay launches service for visitors to Canton Fair

By QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated:2024-04-23


Attendees take part in the China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. LU HANXIN/XINHUA

Mobile payments app Weixin Pay has launched a monthlong inbound payment service targeting overseas visitors to the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in a bid to provide convenient payment options for global traders.

Weixin Pay is a mobile payment service within the Weixin app designed for users on the Chinese mainland.

Its services will now be extended to 18,000 taxis, 308 subway stations, six international hotels and over 1,000 merchants, providing comprehensive support for foreign visitors in terms of dining, accommodation, transportation, shopping and entertainment.

During the service month, the card binding process and Weixin account opening process will be optimized, and 130,000 bilingual usage guides, signs, table stickers and commercial screen guides will be distributed in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

Three inbound payment experience service desks at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and the fair's complex have been established already.

Weixin Pay has also collaborated with the local government to train 3,000 volunteers to provide mobile payment guidance services for foreign traders, both inside and outside the venue.

A Brazilian trader of garments said he was pleasantly surprised that he could use Weixin Pay during his visit to the Canton Fair.

Payments are processed within seconds with a simple scan of QR codes, he said. "I could conveniently use mobile payment tools for transportation and to sample the local food," Allan, who preferred to use only his given name, added.

The fair, held twice a year, concluded its first phase on Friday. As of Friday, 125,440 overseas buyers from 212 countries and regions visited the fair, representing an increase of 23.2 percent compared with the last session in October, the organizer said.

In addition to payments by cash, the fair's organizers have facilitated digital payments for overseas visitors by adding more payment options, including Weixin Pay, Alipay, Union-Pay and some overseas e-wallets.

The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, has released a payment guide that provides foreigners with text and graphic instructions on using bank cards, cash, mobile payments and e-CNY in China.

This is part of the latest step in the country's push to optimize the payment experience of foreigners.

Alipay, the digital payment arm of Chinese financial technology company Ant Group, has ensured that foreigners in China can use mobile payments without any hurdles by rolling out translation services for 16 languages recently.

Data from Alipay showed that the transaction volume of foreign visitors paying through the mobile payment app surged nearly 10 times year-on-year in March, with the number of active users increasing nearly six-fold during this period from a year earlier.

Weixin Pay said the foreign card transaction volume has grown quickly.

Data showed that the average daily transaction amount for Weixin Pay's foreign card services increased by over three times in March compared to July last year before the payment service was upgraded, with the average daily transaction volume growing by over four times.

Weixin Pay said it will take the fair as an opportunity to launch a nationwide initiative for inbound payment convenience services, offering assistance in products, services and comprehensive guidance to help foreigners travel and do business smoothly in China.

"I will try digital payments such as Weixin Pay. If it works, I will be really happy," said Steve Neumeyer, a buyer from the United States.

"I want to spend money, but I could never do it before," Neumeyer, a regular visitor to the Canton Fair, added.

The fair's organizers have set up a consultation desk to facilitate payment services for foreigners, where multilingual promotion for inbound payments is provided.

Through "hands-on" guidance, staff members assist inbound individuals in using electronic payment methods, helping many international merchants to solve payment issues on the spot.

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