Anyone who spends a 24 hours in the economic superpower – particularly in any of its bustling cities – can see how the Chinese have embraced digital wallets in spectacular fashion.
"In 2019 more than 1.4 million visitors from China visited Australia, contributing $12.4 billion in visitor spend.”
Dominated by players like Alipay, these digital wallets are ubiquitous. Market penetration is deep with people using them everywhere from busy restaurants to high-end shops and to pay their utility bills.
To put the revolution in Chinese domestic payments in context, across the globe Alipay reached 1.2 billion monthly users in 2019 – and that number has only increased since then. But why does this matter for Australia?
As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and cross-border travel again increases, Chinese tourists are making their way to Australia to enjoy what our country has to offer – and we are about to see just how much their expectations as consumers have changed.
Australia was recently approved by China’s tourism ministry – along with countries such as Japan, Britain and the United States – as a place where the all-important tourism agencies can run group tours.
It will no doubt take time for traveller numbers to return pre-pandemic levels, but we have to be ready for it as the opportunity is staggering. In 2019 more than 1.4 million visitors from China visited Australia, contributing $12.4 billion in visitor spend.
At the same time – with borders reopened – more than 40,000 Chinese overseas students are expected to return to Australia this year.
Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics for international arrivals for April already showed Chinese visitors to Australia returned to 33 per cent of 2019 levels. This was up from 22 per cent in March.
This is also a story which encompasses other nations across Asia. Everywhere from South Korea to Malaysia to the Philippines are experiencing the same growth in mobile wallet engagement.
This presents a very real opportunity for Australian businesses as we continue to see more tourists who come here to relax – and more students arrive to better their education.
Embrace the opportunity
As part of this we also need to consider their spending behaviour and preferences. How does a bank like ANZ best support our business customers to make the most of this large opportunity?
Australia has always been on the front foot in adopting new forms of payment. For example, UnionPay International (China’s answer to Visa and Mastercard) has been standard with most merchant terminal offerings in Australia for some time.
But payments technologies are ever evolving and with digital wallets fast becoming a preferred way for many consumers – especially those visiting from Asia – to make payments, it makes sense to put solutions in place to help our business customers meet the needs of their consumers.
For this reason, ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions has invested and will now be the first major acquirer in Australia to enable their merchant terminals to directly accept AliPay+ payments.
How will this work? Put simply, a tourist or student coming to Australia can have a seamless payment experience by selecting their preferred digital wallet on their mobile device and scanning the Worldline QR code automatically displayed on the terminal.
It is similarly easy for merchants on the ANZ Worldline platform to enable – this functionality can be accessed through existing terminals and agreements. No need for additional hardware or special terminals.
The update released by ANZ Worldline also facilitates payments for Hong Kong’s AlipayHK, South Korea’s Kakao Pay, Malaysia’s Touch ‘n Go eWallet, Thailand’s TrueMoney and the Philippines’ GCash.