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A Serbian fashion designer’s day with mobile payment in China

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Recently, China issued a document on further optimizing payment services and enhancing payment convenience, with an aim to better meet the diverse payment needs of senior citizens and foreign travelers.

How do foreigners in China feel about their current payment experiences? Let’s find the answer with David Van de Kamp, a Serbian fashion designer.

[15:00, March 27, Checking in at hotel]

Van de Kamp came to China this time to attend the third China Chaoshan International Textile and Garment Exhibition held in Shantou, south China’s Guangdong province from March 28 to 30.

On March 27, he arrived at the hotel in Shantou he had booked. The check-in took him just a few minutes.

“I don’t speak much Chinese, but the check-in went smoothly. I handed over my passport at the front desk, and the staff handled it very efficiently,” Van de Kamp said.

According to him, it was convenient to pay with his Mastercard he obtained in Serbia via foreign bank card POS machines at the front desk.

A Serbian fashion designer's day with mobile payment in China

People’s Daily Online

David Van de Kamp pays with his phone in a convenience store.

“Having installed foreign bank card POS machines last July, the hotel now accepts payments from Mastercard and Visa settled at real-time exchange rates,” the hotel manager said.

Van de Kamp runs a studio that designs and manufactures sweaters. He hoped to find higher-quality raw materials at the China Chaoshan International Textile and Garment Exhibition this time. The textile and garment industry has become one of the distinctive and advantageous pillar industries in Shantou. Each year, the city exports over 1.85 billion pieces of products. Within a 40-kilometer radius, there are over 10,000 enterprises engaged in the industry. “I want to hang around to see if I can have some ideas for designing,” he said.

[19:30, March 27, Taking public transport]

After having a short rest at the hotel, Van de Kamp went out to the streets. “In Serbia, the main payment methods are bank cards and cash, while using mobile apps is more convenient in China. I only need to bring my phone when going out,” he said.

The man applied for a Chinese SIM card and signed up for a WeChat account with it. “My WeChat account is linked to my Serbian bank card, so I can pay directly. The card binding was easy – just following the instructions to upload a photo of my passport, and completing verification.”

Van de Kamp went to a historical and cultural block taking a taxi he hailed on a ride-hailing app. When he got off the taxi, the fare was automatically deducted from the account in the app.

“I have enabled password-free payment, so I don’t need to manually pay the fare on my phone. The deducted amount is recorded on my Chinese bank card,” he said.

He had previously used a foreign bank card to withdraw Chinese yuan from an ATM, which incurred service charge. That’s why he decided to get a Chinese bank card.

“Although it is convenient to withdraw money with a foreign bank card now, I have rarely paid with cash and hardly needed to specifically withdraw money ever since I started using mobile payment,” Van de Kamp told People’s Daily.

[20:00, March 27, Shopping]

Van de Kamp walked into a clothing store of a shopping mall in Shantou, and started checking out the designs and materials of the garments.

A Serbian fashion designer's day with mobile payment in China

People’s Daily Online

David Van de Kamp visits a clothing store in Shantou, south China’s Guangdong province.

“Wherever I go, I always visit local clothing stores first to experience the different dressing styles and preferences. I feel the raw materials used for these clothes are very good, mostly pure wool and other natural fibers. The designs also emphasize practicality,” Van de Kamp said.

Whenever he saw appetizing food, such as rice noodles, sweet soups, and fried tofu, he would pause and scan to pay with his phone.

He even figured out a pattern: “In shops, the vendors usually scan my payment QR code; but when buying from street stalls, I usually scan their receiving QR code. Overall, there are many payment options, making life quite convenient in China.”

Recently, major banks and payment institutions in China have taken multiple measures to further clear payment obstacles for foreigners in China. On March 14, the People’s Bank of China released a payment guide in both Chinese and English, providing foreign travelers to China with instructions on how to access various payment services and the process of using them.

Nowadays, an increasing number of hotels in China accept payments from foreign bank cards, and there are also more and more service centers that cater to foreigners’ needs. It is believed that more foreigners will be able to embrace a convenient life in China, where they can pay for taxi fares, book hotel rooms, and purchase tickets on their mobile phones.

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