Alipay’s head of Europe, Roland Palmer, said in an interview with CNBC that the company has tripled its number of European merchants, with “tens of thousands” joining in the past year.
Palmer emphasized the company’s ongoing focus on Chinese tourists, citing an outflow of 150 million people every year, with many of these travelers heading to Europe.
The China Tourism Academy says Chinese tourists made a total of 140 million outbound trips in 2018, up 13.5% year-on-year, spending USD 120 billion (RMB 824 billion) overseas.
Meanwhile, a joint report by Nielsen and Alipay found that Chinese tourists spent more than USD 3,400 (RMB 22,900) on average per person per trip, excluding tour package fees and major transportation costs such as flights.
Alipay first announced its entry to Europe in 2016 after signing deals with BNP Paris in France, Barclays in the United Kingdom, UniCredit in Italy, and Switzerland’s Six Group. The mobile wallet quickly grew its number of merchants from 200 in November that year to 2,000 in March 2017.
The payments platform now services 29 European countries and 55 countries worldwide, with a total of around one billion active users, according to Palmer.