Payment Options in China

When conducting cross-border business, moving money in and out of China can be difficult. You can always do a traditional bank wire, which is the safest, albeit slower and cumbersome method.

There are a number of payment providers that help move money over the border – Stripe is a popular provider - with similar but slightly varying fees for each transfer. 

To be successful with Chinese consumers, foreign businesses have to make sure that they offer the popular payment options. In China, the most used include UnionPay, WeChat Pay, and Alipay. Some familiar methods, like PayPal and MasterCard and Visa also exist, but are dwarfed by domestic competitors.

UnionPay is China’s largest card company and national payment processor. It services all major Chinese banks. UnionPay has online payment capabilities but requires bank plugins. However, the most popular method of payment among Chinese customers is Alipay and WeChat Pay.  WeChat Pay and Alipay are both products from Chinese tech giants, Tencent and Alibaba, respectively. To use it, users just need to link their UnionPay card to the app. WeChat is a Chinese mega-app created by the tech giant, Tencent. While traditionally a messaging app, WeChat has expanded to also allow the user to make ticket reservations, order food and taxis, manage their wealth, and much more. Released as a mobile payment app, Alipay has also grown to cover the same types of functions and is the main competitor to WeChat Pay.

Cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) business can integrate both Alipay and WeChat Pay onto their platforms through an online application process. Specialized service providers can help guide you through the process.


Dezan Shira & Associates

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in China recommends that readers seek professional advice regarding their particular circumstances. This publication should not be relied on as a substitute for such professional advice. The Government of Canada does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the information contained on this page. Readers should independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information. 

Content on this page is provided in part by Dezan Shira & Associates a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, providing legal, tax, and operational advisory to international corporate investors.

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