File photo of tourists outside Galeries Lafayette. Photo: AFP
Chinese tourists visiting Paris are now able to pay for their purchases in two of the city's department stores with their smartphones, thanks the adoption of the payment app of the popular Chinese social media network, WeChat.
The Galeries Lafayette group said Wednesday that shoppers at its flagship Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV Marais stores could now check out with WeChat Pay.
Well-heeled Chinese tourists have become targets for thieves, who know they often carry around huge bundles of cash, which up until now they have used to pay for their goods at the city's department stores.
But now they may no longer need to run the risk of carrying out wads of money because they can use a feature integrated into Tencent-owned WeChat, which had more than 938 million active monthly users earlier this year, allowing payment via a linked bank card.
The service, available to Chinese merchants since 2014, has been expanding internationally since 2016.
Paris is a major draw for Chinese tourists, where surveys show they are top spenders.
The Galeries Lafayette group said its shops welcome 15 million foreign visitors per year and wanted to provide “its Chinese customers with a familiar, convenient and secure payment environment … directly on their smartphone.”
Another Parisian department store, Printemps, has opted for the rival Chinese payment service Alipay.