Shoppers at Frankfurt Airport can now pay for goods using mobile payment apps Alipay and WeChat Pay. The service, which targets Chinese customers in particular, is available at around 100 tills in 28 Frankfurt Airport Retail (FAR) shops. FAR is the joint venture between Gebr Heinemann and Fraport, which manages duty free at Frankfurt Airport.
After its roll-out at Frankfurt Airport, the mobile payment app solution will be introduced across the Heinemann network, first at 12 European airports and then globally.
FAR Managing Director Georg Fuhrmann said: “The mobile payment methods of Alipay and WeChat Pay available at Frankfurt Airport make us even more attractive to the Chinese travelers, a very important target group for us. In addition to this, the platforms are opening up new possibilities for addressing customers directly and for advertising attractive purchasing incentives in the form of discounts and extra benefits.”
Both mobile apps allow customers to carry out online payments by scanning the QR code provided using the relevant app and entering the payment amount. WeChat Pay is part of the social platform WeChat which is used for payments, communication, entertainment and information exchange. Previously, Chinese customers generally used China Union Pay credit cards in FAR shops.
FAR works with payment service provider Wirecard to integrate Alipay and WeChat Pay into its till system. According to Wirecard, more than one billion people use the two mobile applications, and acceptance of the apps is growing fast overseas due to their widespread use among Chinese travelers.
FAR noted the popularity of international brand names among Chinese who shop in Europe, adding that “Chinese travelers are increasingly also buying regional products and local specialties.”
In the first five months of 2018, Frankfurt recorded 136,329 visitors from China (including Hong Kong), an increase of 8.5 percent from the same period in 2017, according to data from the Frankfurt Tourist+Congress Board. Only the U.S. had more tourists to Frankfurt in the period.