Payments made easier for foreign visitors, expats

Tourists enjoy Chinese opera at the DaLian Urban Music Center in Dalian, Liaoning province, in March. CHINA DAILY

Banks in Dalian, Liaoning province, have issued more than 110,000 wallets containing small change — including to over 13,000 taxi drivers — as part of the city’s latest efforts to provide more convenience to expats and visitors from overseas.

The “change wallets” have small-denomination notes of one, five, 10 and 20 yuan, according to the Dalian branch of the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank. The banks offer standard wallets for 300 yuan ($41) or others with tailored amounts to meet the public’s diversified demand for cash services.

“People in China have been using mobile phone payments for quite a while now,” said South African kindergarten teacher Roslyn Rochelle Govender, who has lived in Dalian for 10 years.

“Most of our new foreign colleagues set up Alipay and WeChat Pay once they have secured a bank card. But, overseas visitors usually find it difficult to obtain a card when visiting for a short period of time,” she said, adding that optimizing payment services will greatly help inbound visitors.

Wang Kechao, a taxi driver in Dalian, said as Alipay and WeChat Pay are so popular, many taxi drivers are reluctant to accept cash because it’s inconvenient to provide. However, he added he’d met some Japanese tourists who exclusively use online payment methods.

Dalian is an important port, industrial, trade, financial and tourism center in Northeast China. It has a large number of inbound travelers for business, study and tourism.

From May 14 to 28, the port city will host the 2024 International School Sport Federation Football World Cup, with 56 teams from 33 countries and regions participating. In June, it will host the 15th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also known as the Summer Davos Forum, which will bring together over 1,500 high-level participants.

Groups doing preparation work for the forum are making arrangements for the participants’ accommodation, meals, transportation, sightseeing and exchanges.

As these international events draw closer, Dalian is aiming to provide more convenient and diversified services for foreign visitors.