Tech firms team up to expand WeChat Pay, Alipay in North America
Cross-border mobile payments company Citcon aligned with GK Software, a provider of point-of-sale and other systems for retailers, to allow GK's North American retail customers to accept payment through Alipay and WeChat Pay, according to a press release. The move is aimed at attracting more spending from Chinese tourists visiting the region.
GK Software's TransAction+ payment processing application, which integrates with a variety of point-of-sale systems, is being integrated with Citcon's API. The application now supports efficient access to both Alipay and WeChat Pay transactions.
This partnership demonstrates that the world's two most popular digital payment platforms are expanding well beyond their roots in China and broadening their acceptance from merchants in markets worldwide — particularly in North America.
Both WeChat and Alipay partnered with Citcon in early 2017 with the specific aim to get more retailers in North America to accept payment from their apps from Chinese tourists. The most persuasive point in the ongoing effort is the incredible volume of Chinese tourism dollars and transactions made by those tourists wherever they go.
Chinese tourists traveled overseas 131 million times during 2017, spending an average of $5,600 per trip. About 65% said they used mobile payments where they were accepted, according to research from Alipay. In the U.S. alone, Chinese tourists contributed about $33 billion in overall spending in 2016, according to U.S. Department of Commerce figures.
The effort is working, albeit gradually, as retailers like Guess and Lacoste have begun accepting Alipay in North America. Citcon also brought Alipay into the Mall of America, and a recent CNBC interview with a WeChat Pay executive suggested that WeChat Pay, via Citcon, is in the midst of gaining acceptance at many more merchants in North America.
Citcon's integration with GK Software, a German company with a U.S. headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, will allow GK clients like Adidas and Aldi to accept WeChat Pay and Alipay. China's digital payment giants have a fairly narrow focus in pursuing North American presence by serving their Chinese customers wherever they travel, but they may use this initial foothold to pursue broader groups of users.