Chinese payment service provider Weixin Pay under Tencent has introduced new features to support payments by foreign tourists visiting China and cross-border payment transactions.
Visitors to China now have even more digital payment options, making the process more convenient.
Since July, Tencent has deepened its collaboration with global credit card organisations such as Visa and Mastercard to improve the payment experience of foreign tourists in China.
The payments landscape continues to be influenced by global tourism and travel, which faced a roadblock during the last three years.
However, as borders reopen, merchants in major tourist destinations are now readying to welcome foreign tourists, and a part of these preparations includes ensuring they can support convenient digital payments for international travellers, including those from mainland China.
The move coincides with the full resumption of travel and international business to China and major international events in the country.
In 2019, Weixin Pay began supporting inbound users in linking their international credit cards for use with various pilot services.
The expanded merchant network includes categories such as dining, transportation, shopping, hotels and more, said Monica Zheng, marketing director of Weixin Pay International Business under Tencent.
Inbound users will be able to conveniently access over tens of millions of merchants, including small and medium-sized merchants.
Fees are waived for single transactions of less than or equal to 200 renminbi to fulfill users' small-amount and high-frequency payment needs, subject to the details specified on the payment page.
As cross-border travel returns to normal and international events such as the Chengdu Universiade and Hangzhou Asian Games are held successively, the number of inbound visitors continues to grow.
Ms Zheng said the company will continue to work with international card companies and other partners to allow overseas users the ability to conveniently access over tens of millions of merchants in China.
Comparing August 2019 to the same month this year, the number of overseas merchant partners increased 748% and the number of offline transactions rose 114%.
Weixin Pay also expanded its partnerships in Southeast Asia, such as that with Thailand's Big C Supercenter Plc supermarket and convenience store chain.
The company will also continue to work with local partners, including Big C and hotelier Centara Hotels & Resorts to offer a seamless payment experience for Chinese travellers and businesses alike, she said.
"We are already seeing the Chinese outbound travel market pick up. During this year's May Day holiday, the volume of average daily offline transactions for Weixin Pay in overseas markets increased by 88%, and the daily average amount of offline consumption increased by 75%, compared to the same period in 2019."
The number of active Weixin Pay overseas merchants has also increased almost fivefold.
"We will continuously innovate and improve our products and services to meet the dynamically changing consumption habits of Chinese travellers, and work together with more network partners to provide high-quality travel and payment experiences," said Ms Zheng.
In another development, Weixin Pay is rolling out a "palm-based payment" service which at this stage still supports only Chinese citizens on the mainland.
The palm-recognition payment method serves users whose mobile phones have run out of battery power or who prefer this simple payment method. The service is available at airports, department stores and cafes.
Users have to register their palm prints at the designated kiosks first in order to use the palm payment method.
In another development, Ant Group's digital wallet and payment system Alipay, together with Ascend's True Money, will today announce a collaboration to support a scan payment service for Thais travelling in China.