Norway has signed on to join the 40-plus other countries and regions that accept Alipay, China’s most-popular mobile-payments app, as tourist destinations across the globe look to capture the rising spending power of Chinese travelers.
Vipps, the Norwegian payments app currently used by 76% of the country’s consumers, said Tuesday it would begin to accept Ant Financial-owned Alipay in 30 locations in Bergen, including the world’s largest gingerbread city, as well as retailers, hotels and restaurants.
“Our cooperation with Alipay gives merchants unique opportunities to accept mobile payments by QR Code scanning by Chinese tourists, as well as marketing through the Alipay app,” said Berit Svendsen, head of Vipps International. “Bergen is just the starting point, and we will expand throughout Norway in the coming months.”
Norway joins Finland among other Nordic countries to offer Alipay to Chinese consumers. Finland, which adopted Alipay in 2016, offers its own Christmas holiday destination: Rovaniemi, which is known for its Santa’s Village as well as a place for viewing the Northern Lights. In Europe, they join over 20 other countries to offer Alipay. Alipay has over 700 million users in China and over 900 million users globally through its partners.
Vipps chose Bergen as a logical starting point given it is already popular among Chinese tourists during both winter and summer. According to national development bank Innovation Norway, Chinese tourism to the country of 5.3 million soared 575% between 2007 to 2017, with Bergen and Oslo the most visited cities.
Also, a survey published by Nielsen earlier this year showed that 65% of Chinese tourists use mobile payments during their overseas travels, about six times more than the 11% of non-Chinese tourists who do. And over 90% of Chinese tourists would consider using Alipay when travelling abroad if Alipay were more widely accepted among foreign merchants, Nielsen reported, with over 90% of Chinese tourists indicating they would increase their spending if Alipay were an accepted payment method.
In addition to launching in Norway, Alipay announced that Vipps and Finland’s ePassi would use Alipay’s QR code technology to allow their respective customers to use the apps in each other’s markets. Together, they will serve a total 129,000 European businesses who will be able to accept QR code payments from their domestic customers as well as other Nordic or Chinese visitors without the need for additional technologies, the companies said.