Foreign tourists finding it easier to use payment apps and credit cards

Photographed by Jiang Xiaowei. Edited by Jiang Xiaowei. Reported by Hu Min. Subtitles by Hu Min.

What is the payment situation like for overseas visitors in Shanghai? We conversed with several individuals at the renowned Yuyuan Garden scenic spot on Sunday.

Initiatives have been heightened to establish a transaction-friendly setting for foreign sightseers in China.

The nation will encourage prominent payment platforms to elevate the single transaction threshold for international tourists utilizing mobile payments from US$1,000 to US$5,000, as disclosed during a press conference on Friday.

As per Xinhua News Agency, the central bank will direct platforms such as Alipay and Tenpay to boost the yearly cumulative transaction threshold. In addition, the platforms were also directed to refine their operational procedures and enhance the efficiency of connecting overseas bank cards, while streamlining the identity verification process during transactions.

It's becoming easier for foreign tourists to utilize payment apps, credit cards

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

An overseas visitor displays her Alipay QR code for ticketing at the Yuyuan Garden scenic area on Sunday.

During the morning of Sunday, Kumamoto Atsuyuki, a university student from Japan who is touring in Shanghai, purchased a postcard and utilized Alipay for the transaction.

“It is incredibly convenient and I have already downloaded Alipay and WeChat apps before my visit,” he mentioned. “When I first visited China in 2019, I paid with cash. I believed Alipay and WeChat payment are more convenient through simple scanning.”

“The download process was seamless as well,” he added. “Numerous Japanese travelers already completed the download before their visit due to online promotions.”

This visit marked his first time in Shanghai.

“Shanghai is a city with a flawless blend of history and modernity,” he expressed.

A group of around 30 young Japanese tourists appreciated Shanghai’s urban views and encountered the city’s cultural and tourism grandeur on Sunday.

It's becoming easier for foreign tourists to utilize payment apps, credit cards

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A notice displaying transaction methods at a dining venue in the Yuyuan Garden scenic area.

British national Paul Wainkerr is on a business journey in Shanghai. In total, he will stay four days and took the Bund sightseeing tunnel from the Pudong New Area to Puxi on Sunday.

“I utilized my credit card and some cash and encountered no issues with transactions,” he shared. “Shanghai is an exceedingly pleasant and delightful city.”

Conversely, Hannah, a voyager from the United States, revealed that she faced some challenges while downloading Alipay.

“I attempted to download Alipay multiple times ahead of my visit, and I struggled with the verification. If Alipay functioned, the payment process would be significantly simpler.”

She purchased incense, books, and postcards with cash and a credit card and explored Nanjing Road, the Bund, and Yuyuan during her Shanghai sojourn.

While examining, the journalist discovered that the Ningbo Tangtuan (glutinous rice balls with soup) Eatery, a long-established restaurant within Yuyuan Garden scenic area, lacks a credit card point-of-sale (POS) device.

It's becoming easier for foreign tourists to utilize payment apps, credit cards

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A delightful shopping experience.

Rebounding incoming tourist market

The inbound tourist sector in China has witnessed a robust resurgence as favorable policies like reciprocal visa exemptions have hastened recuperation.

Throughout this year’s Spring Festival holiday, inbound travel reservations skyrocketed by 48 percent compared to the equivalent period in 2019 under a sequence of preferential policies propelling inbound tourism, as stated by Shanghai-based online travel agency Trip.com.

Upon the official commencement of the mutual “visa-free era” between Thailand and China on March 1, travel orders from Thai explorers to China escalated by 300 percent from the corresponding day last year and surged by 160 percent from 2019, as per Trip.com.

Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Beijing, Chengdu, and Chongqing have emerged as their favored destinations, as per the agency.

Shanghai Spring Tour disclosed that the number of inbound travelers expected to visit China in March had expanded by 10 percent in comparison to February.

Starting from December last year, a rise in inbound tourists from Vietnam and South Korea has been observed, with numerous Chinese companies establishing factories in Vietnam and the airfares from the nation to China being relatively economical, leading to a growth in meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions travelers, the travel agency noted.

It's becoming easier for foreign tourists to utilize payment apps, credit cards

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

An international traveler capturing a photo.

It's becoming easier for foreign tourists to utilize payment apps, credit cards

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Overseas travelers ready to purchase entry tickets.

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