London’s Chinatown is embracing the influx of visitors who have landed in the UK this week, they’re here because of China’s Golden Week which is a seven day national holiday in China. Millions of tourists will travel, both within China and abroad.
Specialist publication, Retail Times, reports that retailers in the UK have started to eagerly await Golden Week as the influx of Chinese tourists. Chinese visitors are the UK’s biggest group of tax-free spenders, making up 26% of tax free sales in London between January and August 2018
Brian Bickell chief executive of the UK China Visitor Alliance, said that “Chinese visitors remain incredibly important for UK’s retail and hospitality sectors, bringing a real boost to both businesses and the economy.”
In a boost to the mobile payment sector in the UK, Alipay has announced that it is partnering with London’s Chinatown to bring their popular ‘order and pay’ app service to London. Tourists will be able to scan a QR code to read details in Chinese, order and then pay the bill via the application.
According to data from Visit Britain, 337,124 Chinese visitors came to the UK last year, with a huge spend of £694m.
The London Evening Standard has reported that the capital is the focus of Alipay’s international expansion. Alipay’s European director Roland Palmer said in a press release that they have signed up thousands of merchants to the service. “ in the last 6 months, we’ve seen a 60% growth in the UK – activating most of Chinatown’s stores, supermarkets and restaurants, plus the London Eye, Sealife and other Merlin Entertainment venues. Alipay is enabling the surging numbers of Chinese consumers who are now travelling abroad to spend their money in UK stores.”
“We have a long waiting list of High Street brands and restaurant chains who want to use Alipay to access Chinese tourists’ spend.” Current retailers include Harrods, Selfridges, Holland and Barrett, Heathrow Airport and the shops of Bicester Village.