Visit Britain expect 483,000 Chinese visitors in 2019, with most likely to choose their shopping and food destinations based on who accepts WeChatPay and AliPay as their preferred method of payment.  It means that if you’re in a location visited by Chinese customers it’s vital that you add these payment types to the already established phone payment apps like ApplePay.


Where you might struggle is that your current merchant account provider is unlikely to have these payment types built in, and possibly not so for quite some time. You can though accept the payments through either a free to set up QR code stand or dedicated card machine with a low monthly rental.


The Acceptcards team assisted the Zapp restaurant chain in taking full advantage of this by enabling Chinese customers to pay with their WeChat and Alipay phone apps as a preferred method to pay.


‘Within the last 12-18 months we’ve noticed an uplift in the amount of Chinese guests visiting Zaap”, explained restaurant Greg Callagham, Marketing Manager for Zaap.  “ We want to make their dining experience with us as easy as possible, as you can imagine visiting a foreign country that speaks a completely different language is often challenging. We have spent a lot of time creating a version of our menu in Mandarin and we’ve also introduced Alipay and WeChat Pay. With this we’ve seen an increase in our bottom line and received lots of great feedback from our Chinese customers. The Chinese visitor market will only continue to grow, so it’s essential other local businesses embrace this to help grow the Yorkshire economy’


Zapp approached our team at Acceptcards to arrange the card machines which are enabled to accept the app based payment method and can also be accepted by using the QR code stand option.  Richard Bradley, CEO of Acceptcards commented that “ This is another great addition to our panel of payment solution providers as whilst Visa, MasterCard, ApplePay, Amex are the payment types we’re all used to, it’s essential not to ignore the demand for alternative payment methods such as the Chinese preference for paying by using their WeChat and Alipay phone apps. We always look to offer our customers more than just the standard merchant card solutions, and as the leading payment brokerage in the UK it’s our duty to be ahead of the curve with emerging payment methods. 


The additional benefit for Zaap is that visitors in the region can search on their phones for businesses that accept the payment types and will be more likely to book a table or just call in.”


Demand is supported by the fact that China is rapidly becoming a near cashless consumer economy, with both WeChat Pay and Alipay boasting impressive active users of in excess of 1 Billion.

Anita Zhang, CEO of ACOLINK, a Yorkshire-based service provider specialising in enabling opportunities between the UK and China businesses, commented “Chinese consumers essentially leapfrogged card payments and are rapidly switching from cash to mobile payments, with the two prevailing third-party payment platforms Wechat Pay and AliPay that by 2018 had, respectively, 85% and 69% market penetration rate in China. Naturally, Chinese visitors simply prefer the convenience, speed, and security of using mobile payment methods they are most familiar with, without all the hassle that international card payments are often creating for them. Similarly, when our clients wish to sell their products to Chinese consumers in their domestic market, we always emphasise the importance of enhancing the customer journey and accepting the mobile payments is one of the must-haves.”


The following stats from Visit Britain help to put the opportunity into perspective.

  • Chinese visitors represent some of the UK’s highest spenders, spending an average of £1972 per visit, more than 3 times the market average
  • They stay in the UK longer than any other international visitor, averaging 10 nights compared to 6 for other markets
  • Every 22 ADDITIONAL Chinese visitors that Britain attracts supports an additional job in tourism in the UK
  • VisitBritain’s ambition is to double spend from Chinese visitors in the UK to £1 billion annually by 2020


To find out more and set your business up to accept WeChatPay and AliPay, please feel free to contact our friendly consultants who will be happy to help.