Alibaba’s popular payments platform Alipay has now been made available for visitors to China for the first time, removing a major barrier for tourists.
Alipay will now allow tourists to download prepaid cards in its app which they’ll be able to use in everything from luxury shopping malls to taxis.
Tourists can purchase the prepaid cards using international debit and credit cards, which will last for 90 days before being automatically refunded to their accounts.
Digital payment systems like Alipay and WeChat Pay dominate the Chinese economy, estimated to have over 1 billion users.
Retailers like Apple offer Alipay in their Chinese stores due to its prominence, which until now visitors were unable to access.
Last year mobile payments in China hit $42 trillion, more than 28 times the amount seen five years ago.
Tourist numbers are also rising, with an estimated 31 million foreigners travelling to China last year, spending $73 billion while they were there. Both of these figures rose five per cent year-on-year.