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US airport duty-free retailer accepts Chinese electronic payment via mobile devices

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-03-13 10:50
A display at the Citron booth promotes WeChat Pay and Alipay during the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, US on Oct 24, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

SAN FRANCISCO -- A US airport duty-free retailer has successfully deployed a cross-border payment solution to accept Chinese electronic payment via their smartphones in a bid to allure more Chinese tourists, a US leading mobile payment company said Monday.

CITCON USA LLC, a leading cross-border mobile payment solution provider based in Silicon Valley, said in a statement that International Shoppes, a duty free and specialty retailer, has been ready to accept China's most preferred payment options, Alipay and WeChat Pay, to welcome and better service Chinese customers.

Alipay, run by Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding of China's largest online retailer, and WeChat Pay, run by Tencent Holdings of China's major internet tech company, are the two most popular forms of mobile payment in China.

The apps on mobile devices have 540 million and 650 million users, respectively, and control more than 92 percent of the Chinese market.

"Introducing the capability to process Alipay and WeChat Pay transactions in our outlets has been both financially rewarding and educational," Matthew Greenbaum, vice president of International Shoppes said.

"As we service a large number of Chinese nationals, we very quickly learned the importance of having this processing capability, as it is often their preferred method of payment," he added.

International Shoppes has operated duty free facilities and retail services for more than 65 years at some of the US major airports such as New York's JFK International Airport and Washington DC's Dulles International Airport, among others.

Chinese tourists are currently the largest spenders worldwide. Nearly three million traveled to the US in 2016, placing China fifth in terms of visitor arrivals after Canada, Mexico, Britain and Japan. They spent 33 billion US dollars -- more than visitors from any other country.

A substantial growth of Chinese tourists was seen in key airport gateways in the United States.

Data from a 2017 survey on outbound Chinese tourism and consumption conducted by Nielson, a leading global information and measurement company, show that 93 percent of Chinese tourists said that they will consider mobile payment as a possible payment method if more overseas merchants support it.

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