The trick to getting more U.S. businesses to invest in mobile payments will be to convince them that more demand will also soon come from U.S. travelers, who are still largely cash and card-carrying consumers for now.
During the June event in Silicon Valley, we heard from travel industry leaders across sectors about topics including personalization, distribution, and innovation. And after first speaking to them on stage, we took another few minutes with the executives to get more insight in our backstage Skift Take Studio.
China has become one of the largest overseas visitor markets for the United States in only a few years. As more Chinese visit major U.S. gateway cities and beyond, they’re bringing their favorite payment methods – phones.
Alipay, the Alibaba Group’s a mobile payment platform, has quickly grown to become one of the most popular payment methods in China as the country’s economy rapidly expands. China has more than 600 million mobile monthly active users and some four million Chinese visited the United States in 2017.
Alibaba is increasingly focused on giving outbound Chinese travelers great products in the U.S. and Europe on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service effort, said Lee McCabe, Alibaba Group vice president of North America, behind the scenes at Skift Tech Forum. “If you’ve been to China you’ll see that it’s all mobile payments,” he said. “No one is carrying cash or credit cards.”
McCabe said Alibaba is currently working with major U.S. cities to make sure restaurants, bars, stores, and tourist attractions accept Alipay to help them garner all that Chinese tourism revenue.
“I think in terms of globalization, mobile payments is one of the ways that the rest of the world will start to experience China,” said McCabe. “When they come into the market they’re not bringing credit cards or cash, they’re bringing a mobile phone.”
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Photo credit: Lee McCabe, Alibaba Group Vice President of North America Lee McCabe at Skift Take Studio during Skift Tech Forum in Silicon Valley in June 2018. Skift