Shoppers at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates can now make cashless payments via popular Chinese messaging service WeChat.
The mall operator, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, announced that it was accepting WeChat at selected outlets in order to be closer to its Chinese customers.
Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, managing director for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Shopping Malls, said: "To own a verified WeChat official account allows us to be closer to our valued Chinese consumers who use this social network to get all information. Having this e-wallet feature at the mall is a significant step in enhancing our Chinese visitors' experience and create great moments whenever they visit."
Being able to process WeChat payments is the result of a partnership with Royal Cloud Pay, a UAE-based fintech firm geared toward making it easier for Chinese customers to process transactions cashlessly in the UAE.
China is the fourth biggest source market for travellers into Dubai, with visitors to the Emirate growing 12% annually, according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
Credit card penetration in the country is relatively diminutive; roughly nine out of 10 customers prefer mobile payments over any other form of transaction. Nearly 83 percent of all smartphone users use WeChat app as a messaging service and information portal, and more than two-thirds of the Chinese population use it as a payment service.
"Such collaborations are underpinned by our ongoing China Readiness Strategy," said Ahmad Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment. "As tourism from China goes from strength to strength, we continue to work with our network of public and private sector stakeholders to further tap into the potential of this market."