iChongqing Title

Spanish Retailers Introduce WeChat Pay, Alipay for Chinese Tourists

By Xinhua|May 09,2024

Previously, it was only possible to use WeChat Pay and Alipay in large shopping malls.

People visit the facade of Casa Batllo, a renowned building designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, in Barcelona, Spain, April 23, 2023. (Photo/Joan Gosa, Xinhua)

Barcelona, Spain - A new initiative aimed at making shopping easier for Chinese tourists in Spain will allow them to use digital payment methods popular in Asia, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.

Chinese visitors to the city of Barcelona, a tourist hotspot, can now use the mobile payment systems they use at home in over 80 shops, thanks to a deal between the Barcelona Commerce retailers' association and the Starpay digital payment platform.

"Our goal is to help ensure that the tools and applications that are widely used by consumers on the Chinese market are also available in our local stores," Alfons Barti, director of the Barcelona Commerce retailers' association, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

"We display the logos of both WeChat and Alipay, which Chinese tourists can easily see and so feel more comfortable about entering the shop," said Ivan Munoz, manager of El Petit Gaudi Eixample, a gift shop selling handcrafted products.

Two Chinese tourists who were browsing in the shop told Xinhua that it made shopping in small independent stores easier because "the payment process is so familiar to us." Previously, they said, it was only possible to use WeChat Pay and Alipay in large shopping malls.

People visit the Alipay booth during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 26, 2024. (Photo/Gao Jing, Xinhua)

More than 1.2 billion users in Asia use the apps available on the Starpay platform to shop, transfer funds and receive cultural and gastronomic recommendations.

"I don't know if Chinese tourists will spend more but it makes shopping for them less of a hassle, and makes them feel more confident because it's a method they already know," said Juanca Gomez, manager of the Barrabes ski and mountain clothing store.

Gil Pujades, who runs the Vinya Celler Masia wine shop, added that the growth of the Chinese tourist market in Spain makes the payment initiative very welcome.

"Everything that helps people have a more complete experience when they come here, and learn about our products, is a good thing," he told Xinhua.

The Barcelona initiative is the first of its kind in Spain, although Starpay says it is currently developing a similar project for shops in the Spanish capital of Madrid.


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