The Mall of America is boosting its appeal to Chinese visitors through a partnership deal that will allow overseas shoppers to pay through digital payment platforms Alipay and WeChat Pay.
The company at the center of the arrangement, California-based Citcon, will coordinate the cross-border transactions.
Not only will MOA’s deal with Citcon reduce issues Chinese mall-goers face in the checkout line, it will also point those same shoppers to engagement opportunities at the mall and assistance with locating nearby stores and claim coupons.
“As a destination that attracts over 40 million visitors annually, it’s crucial for us to continue providing services for our guests to create a seamless experience when visiting Mall of America,” said Jill Renslow, MOA’s SVP of business development and marketing, in a statement. “Citcon’s dedication to provide familiarity and convenience to Chinese consumers is something that resonates greatly with us and we’re excited to implement their payment solution across our property.”
Citcon serves the more than 1 billion Chinese consumers worldwide who use the payment platforms Alipay and WeChat Pay. Users at the mall will benefit from Alipay’s geolocation “Discover” feature enabling them to find merchants, receive promotional information, and make more informed purchasing decisions.
Bringing in the service makes sense for MOA, given China consistently produces the most tourists worldwide to visit the mall. Every year for the last five years, the number of MOA visitors from China have outranked visitors from every other country.
In the U.S. overall, Chinese tourists make up 21 percent of tourism spending. In just two years, it’s expected that five million travelers from China are expected to spend $80 billion in the U.S.
“Chinese consumers have become accustomed to the idea of doing everything on mobile… Accepting the familiar and preferred mobile payment options has become a necessity for retailers,” said Chuck Huang, founder and CEO of Citcon, in prepared remarks. “We are thrilled to partner with Mall of America to bring a seamless payment and shopping experience to modern Chinese consumers.”
The Citcon solution will be implemented into various merchandise shops (specific stores have not yet been named), guest services and within the mall’s 7-acre Nickelodeon Universe theme park.
Other recently announced entities coming to the mall soon include a jewelry store for renowned fashionista Kendra Scott and a slew of virtual reality activity venues.