Despite the rise in Chinese people living in the UK, British landlords and property developers are slow to adopt Chinese payment methods. You might be thinking: what is the correlation here? My business is in the UK, why should I care what’s happening in Chinese Fintech? STOP.
Ignoring the Chinese market now, is a surefire way to cripple your business in the future. Plain and simple: the Chinese market is massive. Crucially, they have completely different spending habits and behaviours. So why purposefully miss out on profit? Overall, what might work in the UK, is not guaranteed to work in China or with Chinese tenants in the UK.
These payment methods are everywhere in Chinese cities. They are convenient, quick and secure. Just like in the UK, cash is becoming less and less relevant with the rise of digital transactions. For people outside of China, Alipay and WeChat Pay can be a mystery. For people who have visited or live in China, these payment methods are an integral part of daily life.
China has a ‘closed capital account’. Transferring money abroad is highly restricted by law. Individuals can only move up to $50,000 per year. This is a massive problem for Chinese people investing or living abroad. To work around the restrictions, many recruit their family, friends and others to move the money for them. For scammers, the policy is prime for exploiting young Chinese students renting accommodation abroad.
As a property developer you might be wondering: why is this my responsibility? If students have figured out a way to pay in the past, then they can figure it out again. On the surface, this line of thought makes sense. However, if the number of Chinese professionals and students continues to rise exponentially, their finance habits and expectations will become increasingly relevant and important. In short, adapt your finances to securely accept Chinese payments and you can only grow your business in the long-term. Everyone wants to avoid fraud. Give them that security and you have yourself a loyal tenant base, who will recommend your services to others.
“Paying rent with Alipay or WeChat Pay is much more convenient and secure. Alipay will automatically exchange the currency, so I don’t have to manually exchange it, then wire transfer from my UK bank account. There’s also a time delay with the UK bank. Alipay has multiple security checks for large deposits, making it safer than my credit card. Lastly, it’s not safe for me to carry cash around when I want to pay rent.” – Joanna Ding, Actuarial Science MSc, University of Leicester
Ideally, Chinese people want to pay rent in full, once a year. Security in housing and finance is paramount. They want to pay online or by payment link, through a trusted Chinese platform, like UnionPay, Alipay or WeChat Pay. Not only do these platforms bypass the Chinese foreign exchange policy, it is also the platform they use daily for almost everything finance. You can enable Chinese payments through a number of ways. If you have an in-house tech team, integrate our API to list Chinese payments gateways as an option in our online checkout. If not, you can sign up with us and generate unique QR codes to accept payments.
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