What happened: Mobile payments have overtaken cash for the first time among Chinese outbound travelers, according to a joint report released by global data analytics company Nielsen and mobile payments platform Alipay. Chinese outbound travelers paid for 32% of their transactions with mobile phones, overtaking cash—which was used only 30% of the time. The researchers surveyed around 2,800 Chinese travelers and over 1,200 overseas merchants.
Why it’s important: Mobile payments are ubiquitous in China. When Chinese tourists take vacations overseas, their preferences for the emerging payment method accompanies them. This makes a great entry point for Chinese tech giants like Alipay and WeChat Pay to expand to overseas markets. In addition to serving Chinese tourists, Chinese mobile payment methods also help to boost the operations of overseas merchants with nearly 60% of the overseas merchants surveyed recording growth after adopting Alipay, the report added.