EP’s Chief Technology Officer visits our team in Shanghai – we catch up with him about why China is a payment geek’s dream and the secret to gorging on the great local cuisine.
What is the key factor businesses should know about the Chinese market?
Mobile is exploding! I noticed every cab driver, restaurant owner, waiter, shopkeeper, Mom and Dad – everyone had a smartphone in their pocket. App usage is massive and mobile payments are completely incorporated in consumers’ daily lives. In fact, China has the highest adoption rate in the world for digital payments.
How does that impact the purchasing behavior of China consumers?
In every walk of life the average Chinese consumer has more payment choices at their disposal than ever before. If people are wanting to talk they’re using WeChat, if they’re wanting to split bar tabs they’re using Alipay. They’re extremely informed and savvy about international products.
ABHISHEK’S DAY IN SHANGHAI
8:00am: Cab ride to the office. The independent driver accepted the $3 fare using his Alipay app. No English conversation involved, just a mobile-to-mobile QR scan.
12:00pm: Lunch time dim sum fix. The local place didn’t have a server to take orders. Just QR code scan on the WeChat app. Menu, order, payment. Magic!
1:30pm: In search of a little light reading. Bought a book online using Tenpay.
4:00pm: Ride share to the afternoon meeting. No Uber in China, it’s all about Didi. Hailed a ride and paid using online banking.
5:00pm: What about cash? Got some currency exchanged from an automated machine. Unmanned and very easy.
6:30pm: Time for a little scenic sightseeing. Picked up a rental bike using Stored value in the bike app, which is turn is loaded up with money using the Alipay wallet.
8:00pm: Time for dinner. Paid good old cash for some dumplings and broth to end the day!
The Chinese market isn’t without its challenges, how is the digital payments landscape changing this?
The whole idea of digitization – facilitated by WeChat Pay, Alipay and TenPay – lets you not only travel but also experience the true China, rather than the “English” experience. Say you’re buying from a shop and they don’t speak English, you can’t tell them how many items you might be after other than to use hand signals. But when the person you are interacting with has a smartphone and you do too, you’ve got a means of communication. Even if you can’t converse with each other you can still communicate using each others digital language. This is just one small example of how the universal language of digitization and digital payments continues to present endless opportunities.
What advice do you have for businesses looking to expand into the Chinese market?
Build a bridge between your business and how Chinese consumers like to make their transactions. The number of people using digital payment systems to make their purchases is dramatically higher in China than the rest of the world. Merchants have to be able to sell their goods and services and collect funds using all methods that consumers want to pay, and then settle currencies. You need to be equipped with the right payment tools in order to overcome the challenges.
HOW EP CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS IN CHINA
– EXPERT EXPERIENCE IN OVER SEVEN PAYMENT PARADIGMS
– TOOLS TO FACILITATE E-WALLET PAYMENTS AND ONLINE BANK TRANSFERS
– SETTLE CURRENCIES AND REPATRIATIONS OF FUNDS BACK TO MERCHANT
– ASSISTANCE WITH PROPER LICENSING PROCESS
– BREAKING DOWN LOCAL TRANSLATION BARRIERS
And finally, your best meal of the trip?
I went to this hole in the wall place with the EP team. We feasted on tripe, chicken feet, frog, and beef tongue. I have never had better – it’s all in the sauce!