Accepting Payments in China
The Mobile Payments Landscape in Mainland China
Credit/Debit cards are not common in Mainland China, and most Western e-payment services – such as PayPal, Square, Google Pay, and Apple Pay – are either not available to Chinese consumers or not widely adopted.
Mainland Chinese citizens overwhelmingly use two mobile payment solutions in their day-to-day lives: WeChat Pay and Alipay. Because of the ease of use and the rapid, widespread adoption of mobile devices, cash transactions are increasingly becoming more rare in China – and in many cases are impossible. The Chinese government is also introducing its own digital currency to speed up the process of getting rid of cash altogether.
Currently, Chinese consumers use WeChat Pay and Alipay in two basic ways:
Paying at physical stores is done through either scanning a QR code at the store or presenting the user’s QR code for stores to scan themselves.
People can also transfer money to each other by scanning each other’s QR codes on their phones.
Even for payments on websites, the website will usually present a QR code for the user to scan with the WeChat Pay or Alipay app on their phone for authentication.
Mobile payments through apps are done through integrations with WeChat Pay and Alipay on the apps themselves. When a user wants to use an app to make a purchase, the app “links” to the user’s WeChat Pay and/or Alipay app on their phone, and can deduct money from their account with a simple authentication method through the device (password, fingerprint, facial recognition, etc).
So to accept in-app payments, your app should be integrated with either WeChat Pay or Alipay, and preferably both. No other payment solutions are necessary in Mainland China.
Which payment solution should I use?
We highly recommend both, because Chinese consumers use both and have their own preferences for various reasons. The process for setting up payments with each company is essentially the same.
But if you had to choose only one for some reason, we lean towards WeChat. In our experience, we’ve seen more users opt for WeChat Pay payment when given the choice.
How to Integrate WeChat Pay on your Mobile App
You will need to be a Chinese company (or otherwise have a company entity in China). That entity must open a bank account with a Chinese bank, and then apply for a developer account with WeChat Pay.
After your developer’s account is approved, you must apply for an app ID from WeChat Pay, which gives your app a unique ID number.
Then you must apply for the WeChat Pay function so you can begin to accept payments.
Once all this is set up, your developers must use the WeChat Pay SDK and your own backend and frontend systems to integrate payments into your app.
In addition to the standard WeChat Pay fees, you will also need to find a way to pay the 10% withholding tax to the Chinese tax authorities. You will need to find an experienced tax specialist to do this for you.
How to Integrate Alipay on your Mobile App
You will need to be a Chinese company (or otherwise have a company entity in China). That entity must open a bank account with a Chinese bank, and then apply for a developer account with Alipay.
After your developer’s account is approved, you must apply for an app ID from Alipay which gives your app a unique ID number.
Once all this is set up, your developers must use the Alipay SDK and your own backend and frontend systems to integrate payments into your app.
In addition to the standard Alipay fees, you will also need to find a way to pay the 10% withholding tax to the Chinese tax authorities. You will need to find an experienced tax specialist to do this for you.
Chinese Payments the Easier Way
AppInChina does all of the above on your behalf, for both WeChat Pay and Alipay. We can expedite the process, interacting with WeChat Pay and Alipay on your behalf, and also provide you with a backend to manage payments and receive analytics reports.
If you are already using AppInChina’s distribution, localization, and/or user acquisition services, we already have all the information we need. Just submit a request through our dashboard.
The AppInChina Advantage
AppInChina provides a complete and convenient one-stop solution for monetizing your app quickly and receiving and managing payments painlessly.
By using AppInChina to monetize your app, the setup process is much easier and quicker. All we need is your app name, package name, and a few screenshots, and we will provide you an app ID instantly.
We have the backend for you, leaving only the frontend integration to your development team, which we can assist with.
You also do not need to navigate the WeChat Pay/Alipay dashboards in Chinese, as we will give you all of the information you need, in English, in the Monetization tab on your client dashboard.
Unlike other solutions, we also have an Open API, which allows you to pull this data from the dashboard and use it however you wish. For example, you may choose to import it into your own tracking and analytics software to analyze user behavior.
Finally, we will take care of submitting all required taxes for you to the Chinese tax authorities. The money you receive is pure net profit.
What about Stripe and other payment integration services?
At this time, Stripe has some major disadvantages for app developers:
For Alipay, Stripe does not support non-Chinese companies.
For WeChat Pay, Stripe can process payments but for websites only. A QR code is presented for the user to scan with their mobile phone in order to pay. This method works for website payments but not for in-app purchases.
1. Click here to apply for an AppInChina Pay account.
2. Click here to read the documentation for AppInChina Pay.