Digital Wallets Are Increasingly Being Used by Consumers Visiting Japan: Report

Asian e-wallets have recorded strong increase of use in Japan at cherry blossom season.

Spending by consumers from South Korea and Malaysia “saw most growth since October when Japan first resumed a visa waiver policy.”

As the ongoing cherry blossom season drives up travel demand, Japan is “seeing a strong uptick in the consumption and cross-border digital payment volume of Asian travelers through their home e-wallets.”

Connected by Alipay+, a cross-border payment tech solution, leading e-wallets in Asia saw the amount of spending “by their outbound travelers to Japan more than quadrupled in March 2023*, compared to October 2022 when the country moved to lift the daily cap on inbound arrivals and resumed a visa waiver policy.”

March this year is “the first cherry blossom viewing season since the government’s relaxation of border measures in October.” Many tourists visit Japan “to enjoy sightseeing and shopping.”

Among them, tourists from Hong Kong SAR China, South Korea, and Malaysia “led the growth, with most increase in the amount of spending.”

Statistics show “that the volume of payments made by Korean visitors using Kakao Pay in Japan jumped eightfold, compared to October. Hokkaido, Chiba, Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka are becoming most popular destinations, where Korean consumers enjoy the convenience of mobile payment using their home app at duty-free shops and outlets on the sideline of their sightseeing journey.”

Japan is also a popular destination “for Malaysian visitors, as the volume of payments made by Malaysian consumers in Japan using Touch ‘n Go eWallet increased sevenfold in March.”

While most-known cities/prefecture “such as Hokkaido, Chiba, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka topped the destination list, Shirakawa-go, a snow-covered village located in the mountains of central Japan that has become a UNESCO World Heritage side, also gained popularity among Malaysian visitors.”

The prefecture where visitors from Hong Kong “shopped the most was Fukuoka Prefecture, which is geographically close and easy to visit, following Tokyo and Osaka. Hong Kong consumers enjoy mobile payment most at outlets, department stores, and electronics stores.”

Alipay+ reportedly “connects some of Asia’s most popular mobile payment apps with merchants nationwide in Japan, bringing consumers convenient and seamless travel experience while helping businesses grow in the digital era.”

International consumers can “make easy payments with their familiar home app, and can also collect coupons through the app or at shops.”

More than 1 million merchants in Japan “are now connected to global cross-border digital payments and marketing capabilities to better serve consumers across the world.”

The Alipay+ merchant coverage “includes major tourist activities including payment at airports, shopping malls, convenience stores, cafes and restaurants.”


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