On November 5, according to the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong-based newspaper, Alipay operator Ant Gold service issued a statement saying that users could use Alipay’s smartphone app for 90 days without binding a Chinese bank card, a move that would allow foreign tourists to use Alipay’s services.
Ant Gold will launch an app that will allow foreign visitors to make their first online payments in China in the short term through what they call an “international e-wallet,” the statement said. Previously, foreign visitors could not use China’s mobile payment system because users’ e-wallets had to be tied to local phone numbers and bank accounts.
The move will open the door to ant gold suits in a growing tourist market. In 2018, China received 30.5 million foreign visitors, up 4.7% year-on-year. Ant-Man said foreign spending on hotels, shopping and food rose 5.1 per cent to $73.1bn last year.
Foreign visitors can now download the Alipay app on iOS and Android devices and register for an international version of Alipay using their overseas mobile phone number.
Foreign visitors can transfer money to a prepaid card provided by the Bank of Shanghai using the international debit or credit card they hold. Each card minimum recharge 100 yuan, the balance does not exceed 2000 yuan. The prepaid card is valid for 90 days and the balance will be refunded to the original card after 90 days.
The Alipay platform currently serves more than 1.2 billion users. (Chenchen)