Global tourists can now use Alipay in China

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Tencent is working with five worldwide card network operators including Visa and Mastercard which will allow WeChat users to link global bank cards to the platform for mobile payments.

China is the fourth most visited country in the world, with 56.9 million worldwide tourists per year, behind France, the United States and Spain.

"Starting immediately, visitors can download Alipay for both iOS and Android devices, and register for the International Version of the app with their overseas mobile phone number to access the "Tour Pass" mini program", Alipay explains. Tourists spent US$73.1 billion in the country past year.

Visitors can use their worldwide debit or credit cards to load funds onto a prepaid card provided by Bank of Shanghai, it said.

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Alipay handled some US$3.8 trillion of transactions in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to China Internet Watch, compared with US$2.7 trillion for Tencent's WeChat Pay, the report said. "But these companies can also move quickly to offer similar services to foreigners, so the situation of Alipay taking the lead in serving foreign visitors would not last that long", said Shen Meng, director at Chanson & Co., a Beijing-based boutique investment bank.

Visitors can use their global credit or debit cards to purchase a prepaid card that ranges from 100 to 2,000 Chinese Yuan and the card lasts a total of 90 days.

Foreign visitors in China finally will be able to use Alipay to pay for goods and services, marking the first time Alibaba is opening up access to its e-wallet outside its user population. This new International Version of Alipay now provides increased accessibility to the millions of visitors to China every year.

This e-prepaid card is valid for 90 days.

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