(Economic Daily/Li Hongtao)
China's mobile payment service has benefited French people after expanding its reach to the continent of Europe in recent years, the Economic Daily reported Sept. 21.
Through diversified operations, online payment has gradually facilitated the local market, merchants, and consumers, offering them a more convenient way of payment.
France conducted a large mobile payment promotion back in 2013, making attempts to use the service for taxis, parking, and supermarkets. However, domestic competition patterns, traditional views, and the promotion methods all restricted the development of the service.
In 2016, Chinese mobile payment service provider AliPay started cooperation with BNP Paribas in a bid to facilitate financial services. The cooperation further expanded the customer base of mobile payment in the country through apps and collaboration with local merchants.
"We're delighted with this partnership with Alipay. It will enable us to continue providing our clients with innovative solutions so as to help them grow their sales," said Pierre Fersztand, Global Head of Cash Management at BNP Paribas.
In Nov. 2016, Printemps Paris Haussmann became the first department store in France to accept mobile payment via Alipay. The service has expanded to 18 Printemps stores in the country by the end of 2016.
Statistics show that a total of 1.6 million Chinese tourists visited France in 2016. Attracting more Chinese tourists is a priority for France's tourism development, an official with France Tourism Development Agency once noted.
Since last summer, the agency has been encouraging domestic stores including Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to offer mobile payment services for Chinese customers.
Chinese mobile payment services are not only benefiting Chinese tourists, but also gradually changing the consumption pattern, payment methods, and even lifestyles of locals.
"China's AliPay and WeChat Pay have expanded their business to France, and many of my friends have already started using them," said a student surnamed Catalina, who once studied in China, adding that more payment organizations will be introduced to the country.
In addition, more and more local merchants are depending on Chinese mobile payment services to boost sales. An owner of a restaurant near the Louvre told Economic Daily that the comments left by his customers on AliPay are a free promotion for him, saying such platforms have brought tangible benefits to merchants.
Famous French economist Jean-Marc Daniel pointed out that the international expansion of Chinese mobile payment platforms is a symbol of China's "soft power" export. He believes China's advanced way of life and views on consumption will have a bigger positive impact on the world with its increasing global influence.