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China sees fruits from facilitating foreign visitor payments

By Zhou Lanxu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-15 15:39

A foreign tourist pays via Alipay at a store in Beijing. [Photo/China Daily]

China is seeking greater breakthroughs in facilitating foreign visitors' payments by the end of June as relevant efforts have borne initial fruits with overseas visitors' onshore payments as bank cards and mobile payment saw double-digit growth last month.

At a meeting attended by central bank officials and leaders from financial institutions on Saturday, Zhang Qingsong, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, called for efforts to treat optimizing payment services as a priority and to strive for even more significant breakthroughs by the end of June.

Zhang said that the initiative to optimize payment services has expanded from pilot actions in 17 key cities to nationwide efforts, calling for further enhancing the sustainability of the initiative.

Stressing payment service optimization as one of the most prominent tasks of the PBOC throughout the year, Zhang called for continuous efforts to boost bank card acceptance, enhance payment services at bank branches, give further play to the role of cash as the last resort of payments and further improve foreign currency exchange services.

He also underlined the specific need for the country's major international airports to explore sustainable schemes to provide better payment assistance services for foreign arrivals.

So far, more than 20 provinces and cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dalian, Chengdu, Shaanxi, Henan and Fujian have launched their plans to optimize payment services.

With key merchants encouraged to accept international bank cards, the number and value of transactions via international card POS terminals in China increased both by about 20 percent in April compared with March, data compiled by the central banks showed.

In April, overseas visitors conducted 19.05 million transactions using mobile payment tools in China, totaling 2.7 billion yuan ($373.6 million) in value, which marked a month-on-month increase of 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Of these, a total of 900,000 overseas visitors made their mobile payments by linking their overseas bank cards with domestic mobile payment platforms, while 1.13 million used their overseas mobile payment wallets directly in China.

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