SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean retailers are increasingly joining hands with Chinese mobile payment platforms to attract more Chinese visitors as they strive to recover from the fallout from a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing, industry sources said Thursday.
Shinsegae DF Inc. said it has adopted UnionPay’s QR code payment system for all of its outlets. It also opened a premium lounge for UnionPay VIP users at its Gangnam branch, providing various services, including luggage keeping.
Shinsegae said transactions made by UnionPay in the April-August period increased 52 percent compared with the same period a year earlier. It did not provide the value of the credit card spending.
“We will adopt payment systems to meet various needs from our Chinese customers and take a leading role in making a better tour environment for them,” a Shinsegae official said.
BGF Retail Co., the operator of South Korea’s leading convenience store chain, CU, also adopted UnionPay’s QR code payment system last month.
BGF Retail said the number of payments made on Chinese mobile payment platforms jumped eightfold in the January-August period compared with the same period a year earlier.
South Korean retailers have been accelerating marketing efforts to attract more Chinese visitors.
Lotte Duty Free, South Korea’s No. 1 duty-free operator, said it has signed a partnership deal with Alipay, China’s largest online payment platform, to carry out joint promotions.
China banned the sale of travel packages to South Korea in March 2017 due to a diplomatic row with Seoul over the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.
The number of Chinese tourists who visited South Korea in July came to 410,337, up 45.9 percent from July 2017. Yet, the latest figure still falls short of the 917,519 tallied in July 2016, when the travel was in full swing.