Shenzhen to enhance foreigners' e-payment experiences

2024-04-02 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

In a collaborative effort led by major banks, prominent payment apps and card payment giants, new measures aimed at enhancing transactions for foreign visitors in China were introduced on Monday in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Unveiled at the 2024 Shenzhen International Shopping Carnival and guided by the People's Bank of China, the initiatives include adjustments to mobile payments to align with foreign visitors' preferences, standardization of small-amount cash transactions, and innovative use of e-CNY hard wallet products with a focus on facilitating bank card payments for large transactions, promoting mobile payments through QR codes for smaller transactions, and ensuring cash payments remain a viable option.

Zhang Qingsong, vice-governor of the PBOC, emphasized the importance of Shenzhen, as a key player in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, in nurturing a premium payment ecosystem and enhancing the overall consumer experience.

Wang Shourui, vice-mayor of Shenzhen, highlighted the city's comprehensive strategy for cross-border payments, which was specifically tailored to meet the needs of Hong Kong residents and other inbound travelers.

"This ongoing initiative guarantees seamless access to cards, codes, and currency," Wang said.

Under the initiative, a series of specialized services such as WeChat payment wallets compatible with foreign cards, digital RMB wallets, payment advisory services, remote assistance, and cash exchange services were introduced.

Meanwhile, Tenpay, Tencent Holdings Ltd's payment affiliate, had simplified the process of linking international cards to WeChat, enabling convenient microtransactions for services like dining and shopping as the company reported a 2-fold daily increase in new card bindings for WeChat Pay in March compared to February.

As China in 2023 witnessed a substantial increase in entries and exits, reaching 424 million — a 266 percent surge compared to 2022, the transaction volume of mobile payments by foreign visitors also surged.

Data from PBOC showed that in the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, there were some 35 million transactions made by overseas visitors to China and the total value of those transactions reached 5 billion yuan ($691.53 million).

Ji Guangheng, president of Shenzhen-based Ping An Bank, emphasized the role of the 2024 Shenzhen International Shopping Carnival in promoting high-level opening-up and driving consumption recovery.

"Ping An Bank is dedicated to developing a payment system that is functional, user-friendly, and attractive by leveraging technological advantages," Ji said.

To do this, banks including Ping An had enhanced cash exchange services by placing ATMs in commercial districts, hotels, tourist attractions, and transportation hubs in Shenzhen. These ATMs support cash withdrawals with foreign cards and offer bilingual operations in Chinese and English.

"The Agricultural Bank of China provides a service allowing me to exchange foreign currency for RMB and give me a currency pocket. Once I get the currency pocket, it's very convenient for me to make payments anywhere, whether I'm at the supermarket or taking the subway. Basically, I can make payments wherever I go," Alla Diasamidce from Georgia, who is working in Shenzhen as a project manager at a logistics and international trading company said.

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