Chinese Payment Methods on Shopify - Offering AliPay, UnionPay & WeChat Pay via Shopify Checkout

By Conor Jones - 3 May, 2022
Conor Jones 2021

Offering a broad range of payment options, particularly to cater for international markets is of growing importance for online merchants. This blog post has a specific focus on China with a more in-depth analysis and guidelines for offering Asian payment methods on a Shopify store.

As of 2020, it’s estimated that UnionPay accounts for 45% of global card spending (second to Visa), whilst Tencent’s WeChat Pay has an estimated 900 million monthly users with AliPay sitting at approximately 600 million monthly users. For online merchants, not being able to offer a payment method such as these could certainly be make or break for your conversion rate and could lead to your store missing out on international customers.

Transacting via AliPay and WeChat Pay is as easy as using your Apple or Google Wallet when purchasing a product, so it can easily transform your online checkout experience.

'The Chinese Firewall'

As a growing number of merchants look to China for expansion, you may be aware of the recent partnership between Shopify and JD.com (one of China’s leading online marketplaces) - making it easier to sell directly to China via a Shopify sales channel. Whilst this is now an accessible means of going DTC in China, it’s still possible to sell direct via Shopify - despite China firewall restrictions.

china-payments

Typically, the Chinese firewall results in increased loading times on sites (due to Shopify CDN locations) meaning performance can take a hit, especially if your tech stack contains blocked technologies incompatible with China (for example, a cookie policy). This is where optimising for China is of increasing importance and offering localised payment methods is a great way to get started.

Shopify Integrations

A direct integration with Shopify for China-based payment methods is possible, though this entirely depends on the origin of your Shopify store and banking entity location. More information for your region can be found here via Shopify

For example, a Japan based Shopify store can offer AliPay though this requires an AliPay merchant account. If you aren’t eligible for the above, this is where a third party payment gateway is the most viable option.

There are several options available with regards to offering this, some of which require an application to each payment vendor directly (although bear in mind that this takes time and may require a native speaker to assist with getting set up). Alternatively, there are also simplified options which require one application to offer the above - though at a slightly greater cost in terms of a higher transaction fee.

NihaoPay

NihaoPay is a third-party Shopify payment gateway. This allows customers to transact in Asian-based payment options including: UnionPay, WeChat Pay, AliPay, Kakao Pay and more. NihaoPay is both easy to use and integrate - requiring a single application in order to offer a multitude of payment methods.

The base fee for NihaoPay is 2.6% per transaction with a smaller fee on withdrawals via bank transfer for all sales. The main benefit of using NihaoPay is that you are not required to register as a merchant for each gateway. What we really like about NihaoPay is that refunds can be handled through the Shopify admin, typical of how refunds and cancellations are handled are any order.

self-portrait

If you wish to view a store currently offering NihaoPay, we recommend having a look at self-portrait’s new Shopify store.

China Payments

Like NihaoPay, China Payments offers access to AliPay, WeChat Pay and Union Pay at a monthly cost of $79 per month, per payment method. Whilst China Payments charge no fee directly, you’ll be liable for paying transaction fees based on each gateway (typically around 2%).

Unlike NihaoPay, deploying the aforementioned on your store requires a merchant application for each respective gateway.

Citcon

Citcon is a recognised Shopify payment gateway enabling merchants to offer a vast array of payment methods (including all of the above, plus popular Korean payment method Kakao and Dana in Indonesia) both online and in-store and therefore, it's favourable for multichannel retailers. One of the key separators and advantages of using Citcon is compatibility with several platforms including Magento, Shopify, Salesforce, WooCommerce and more.

Simply create a merchant account at Citcon, and configure the gateway in your Shopify dashboard with a purchased plan to get started.

Wallee

Wallee generally has many parallels with Citcon’s offering, permitting merchants to apply Asian payment methods (plus more) to online and offline retail. The main thing to bear in mind for Wallee is that it’s required to have a business entity in one of the following: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Stripe

As a general note, third parties aside, it is worth noting that China Union Pay can be accepted by Stripe, depending on your region and agreement with these providers. If you currently have either it is definitely worth exploring your options here.

Eximbay

Whilst this example is not particularly relevant for Western based merchants, Eximbay enables merchants with a Korean business entity to reach global markets with an abundance of payment methods, including all of the above that have been mentioned plus more.

Summary

If you’re a merchant with stable traffic from China (particularly if you’re seeing a low conversion rate), we would recommend considering one of the above solutions to broaden your existing payment offering. Whilst they’re all relatively similar in terms of offering, it’s definitely worth considering financially what’s the best in the long run, especially when evaluating upfront fee vs a % rate per transaction.

If you need any help with getting started using China payments and want to discuss further with our team, feel free to contact me directly on LinkedIn or get in touch at [email protected]

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