Foreigners in China Face Challenges Spending Money Due to Mobile Payment Hurdles

On February 26, 2024, the issue of “foreigners finding it hard to spend money in China” became a trending topic on Sina Weibo, highlighting the payment challenges faced by expatriates in the country.

According to a report by China Newsweek, in 2023, a foreign national returning to Shanghai from Hong Kong encountered difficulties with payments, sparking some attention. During the Shanghai Municipal Political Consultative Conference in 2024, proposals were made to further facilitate domestic payments for foreigners, citing differences in payment habits as a cause of these issues and leading to a range of derivative problems.

With China signing mutual visa exemption agreements with numerous countries, the number of foreigners coming to China has increased, bringing payment issues to the forefront. Zhang Qingsong, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, stated that to address this problem, a special working mechanism has been established, proposing a solution of “large payments by card, small payments by QR code, and cash as a backup.”

Foreign nationals in China face payment difficulties in various sectors, necessitating a collective effort for resolution. Many foreigners find it difficult to use cards and inconvenient to use cash. The widespread adoption of mobile payments presents a challenge for some expatriates, with issues arising during registration and login processes.

The rapid development of China’s payment industry has led to disparities with some countries where traditional payment methods are still predominantly used. The payment challenges faced by foreign tourists in China require the combined efforts of the government, payment companies, and other departments to provide more convenient payment services.

Addressing the payment issues of foreigners in China requires efforts from multiple sides, including improving the coverage of POS machines for foreign cards, enhancing mobile payment products, and optimizing user experience. In solving these payment issues, considerations for security and privacy must also be taken into account to ensure the safety of the payment system.

The Chinese government and relevant departments are actively exploring solutions to the payment issues faced by foreigners in China, striving to enhance payment convenience and provide a better consumption experience for entrants. Through cooperation and innovation, there is hope for establishing a more convenient and open payment environment to meet the needs of entrants.