Dec 19, 2018 07:56 PM

Charts of the Day: China’s Digital Payment Duo Heads Abroad

Already deeply entrenched in their saturated home market, Alipay and WeChat Pay have taken their digital payment battle abroad as more Chinese tourists travel overseas.

Chinese people are now the largest group of tourists who travel abroad, according to a report by the consultancy McKinsey & Co. Thanks to the aggressive expansions of Ant Financial Services Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd., the respective owners of Alipay and WeChat Pay, Chinese tourists can now use their familiar mobile payment apps to shop, dine and take public transportation abroad. They can now use Alipay in 42 overseas countries and regions and WeChat Pay in 49.


Graphic: Gao Baiyu/Caixin

Alipay and WeChat Pay dominate China’s mobile payment market. In the first half of 2018, transactions via third-party mobile payment platforms in the country rose 90% year-on-year (link in Chinese) to nearly 80 trillion yuan ($11.6 trillion), with Alipay and WeChat Pay together controlling more than 90% of the market, according to China-based data analysis firm Analysys.

With little room left to grow at home, the two companies have started targeting local users outside the Chinese mainland. Tencent, for example, has introduced WeChat Pay MY in Malaysia, which allows local users to make payments in their own currency. Ant Financial, on the other hand, has formed partnerships with local companies in countries such as Pakistan and South Korea to target users there.

Contact reporter Charlotte Yang (

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