Creating an E-commerce website in China could be a lucrative business, but only when done correctly. Online purchases are constantly on the rise in China. However, merely opening an e-shop in China is not enough to take advantage of this positive trend.
There are many technical aspects that must be addressed correctly to sell online in China. Among these technicalities is choosing the right E-commerce CMS for China, like Magento or Prestashop. Choosing the right payment gateways to collect money from your customers is another critical factor for a successful E-commerce website in China.
The average Chinese consumer has no hesitancy when buying from big vendors like TMall, TaoBao, JD and so forth. Things may be different, though, when purchasing from your standalone E-commerce site. You must understand the behaviour of the Chinese consumer and offer them payment methods that they trust and make them feel at ease.
For this reason, it is important for you to understand what the payment gateways are, and which ones are the most trusted in China.
What a Payment Gateway Is
A payment gateway is what allows you to collect money from your customers credit or debit card when they buy something from your online shop.
Think about the physical point of sale terminal you find at any brick and mortar store. Once you insert your card into it, your card information is processed, and the payment is authorized. A payment gateway works exactly the same way on your website.
Payment gateways can be easily integrated on the most popular CMS like Magento and PrestaShop. Further, they offer a series of advantages for both you and the buyer. First of all, they add a layer of security to the transactions. This makes the customer feel safe and, in turn, more likely to buy.
Additionally, payment gateways are available 24/7, they support several forms of payment besides credit and debit cards, and they come with real-time reporting tools to track your sales performance.
When talking about payment gateways, we can use PayPal as an example. However, as you will see later, PayPal is not at all popular in China and must be substituted by what is mostly used in this market.
Are Payment Gateways Really Necessary for E-commerce in China?
Technically speaking, payment gateways are not necessary. However, if you do not integrate them into your E-commerce website you will lose out on potential profits.
Chinese consumers can buy online using credit and debit cards, but it is not their favorite method of payment. Local consumers tend to have less trust in websites that only accept payment by credit card.
It is very important to understand the psychology of a buyer to close a sale. Therefore, if you want to create an environment that gives your customers peace of mind and an incentive to buy from you, payment gateways must be integrated.
What Is the Difference Between a Payment Gateway, a Merchant Account and a Payment Processor?
Although a customer may buy something online in a matter of seconds, during this short period of time a lot is going on behind the scenes. To finalize the purchase and for you to collect the money three elements must work together: the payment gateway, the payment processor and the merchant account. Let’s consider what the differences are between these three elements.
We have already explained that the payment gateways are like the sale terminal we use at any brick and mortar store. Its function is to accept an online payment on your E-commerce site. It acts like the mediator between the transaction on your website and the payment processor.
The information collected by the payment gateway is transferred to the payment processors. These are the financial institutions that authorize the transaction and handle the movement of money. They exchange communication between the cardholder’s bank and the merchant account. They verify the validity of the card, fund availability, determine if monthly limits have been exceeded and so on. If everything is found to be legit, the payment processor authorizes the transfer of funds to the merchant account.
The merchant account is a kind of bank account where the money of a successful transaction is deposited. However, they are different from a normal bank account because you do not have control over it. Once the money is deposited into your merchant account, the funds will then be transferred to your official business account.
How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway
Before deciding which payment gateway to use with your online shop you must possess insight on the behavior of the local buyers. Just because a payment gateway is the most popular in your country doesn’t make it the right choice in China. For instance, PayPal in China is not appreciated and if you rely on it, you will not have many sales.
Moreover, make sure that the payment gateway you need is compatible with your CMS. The most popular E-commerce platforms like PrestaShop and Magento are usually compatible with the most important payment gateways, but you should always double-check.
Another thing you must consider when selling within the Chinese market are the blocks that are imposed by the Great Firewall. To avoid problems and create a smooth experience for your customers, it is always best to choose from one of the most popular payment gateways in China.
7 Best Payment Gateway Providers in China
To help make your choice easier, we have selected the 7 best payment gateways in China. If you integrate one or more of them, you will not have any problems in the Chinese market.
Alipay belongs to Alibaba’s group and it is currently the most used payment gateway in China.
Alipay works with Visa, Mastercard and about another 180 financial institutions. This makes it a perfect payment solution for most E-commerce websites.
What makes this payment solution highly valued in China is the protection it offers to the customers. Alipay offers an escrow service that allows the customer to verify their goods before releasing their payment. It also accepts immediate payments for things such as booking services or digital products, instead of using the escrow service.
The official name of this payment gateway is TenPay, however people in mainland China refer to it as. The payment platform was released by Tencent, the company that owns WeChat, as a countermeasure against the dominance of Alipay.
TenPay is integrated into WeChat, the most popular social network in China with over 1 billion users. Therefore, WeChat Pay has quickly risen to become the second most popular payment method in China.
Notable also is that WeChat pay can be linked to yourallowing your customers to see and buy your products directly from their mobile phone.
Union Pay is the first payment service that began operating in China and is based in Shanghai. When the platform opened, its aim was to unify the credit card and banking network systems in China. Therefore, it was given the name Union Pay. Currently, it is the third most popular payment gateway in China.
99Bill is still a small payment gateway, but you shouldn’t overlook its potential. 99Bill has partnered with over 80 financial institutions and serves more than 1.1 million merchants. Therefore, 99Bill is a good option to integrate into your E-commerce site to collect money from your customers.
YeePay is a payment gateway that focuses on innovation and in providing its users with a cost-effective way to handle transactions.
The company doesn’t focus primarily on retail industry, but in travel and airline booking, digital entertainment, insurance, telecom and similar things. YeePay was one of the first payment platforms to obtain a license from the People’s Bank of China.
Its merchant base is growing, and they currently operate in 20+ provinces in China.
Payease may boast the largest banking network thanks to its alliance with 23 major banks in China. This massive network allows Payease to accept payment from 63 types of credit and debit cards, including American Express, Mastercard, Visa and JCB.
Payease is committed to providing a user-friendly, highly secure and cost-effective payment platform. The service provided by Payease is constantly improving as they have set the goal of becoming leaders in the industry.
ChinaPnR was established back in 2006 and it is headquartered in Shanghai. It was the first company to obtain a license from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to provide online payments.
The company specializes in phone payments and prepaid payments which makes it useful in some situations.
Opening an E-commerce website in China is a smart move for sure. The local Chinese market offers great opportunities for conducting business online. However, the operating environment is more challenging, and it requires more planning and knowledge of local habits.
As we discussed in this article, just choosing the right payment gateway in China requires quite a bit of study and analysis of your user base. At times, it may be difficult to handle all these challenges on your own and having the support of a local expert may be the fastest and most effective solution.
QPSoftware has been operating in China for over 10 years and we can assist you as you enter into the Chinese market. We can build your E-commerce site using a CMS such as PrestaShop or Magento and integrate the best payment gateways for your industry.
Call us today and we will explain our E-commerce solutions for the Chinese market.