Alipay and WeChat wallet have now been accepted as a method of payment for subway cards in some Beijing metro stations.
Sixteen "new-generation" subway card vending machines have been placed in eight Beijing subway stations (Guomao and Yonganli on Line 1, Qingnianlu on Line 6, Guangqumennei on Line 7, Fengtai Technology Park on Line 9, Shoujingmao on Line 10, Beishatan and Wangjing East on Line 15). The machines allow commuters to purchase, top-up, return and check the balance of subway cards. And, unlike the older machines which accept cash or coins only, the new machines accept WeChat and Alipay as a method of payment, China Money Network reports.
The new subway payment system aims to make it easier for commuters to get around the city. A regular subway rider Zhangyi told That's Beijing: “This definitely makes things more convenient, especially if they push to make it nationwide. Say if you’re traveling and find yourself in a new city, it would be much easier to get around."
Meanwhile, other cities in China, such as Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, already accept mobile payments for buses.
The introduction of Alipay and WeChat in public transport is a sign of the company's affiliated companies Alibaba and Tencent further expanding their reach. The Alipay and WeChat pay phenomenon first started with online shopping through Taobao, Alibaba, JD, and other e-commerce corporations, before spreading to restaurants, grocery shopping, taxis, clothing stores and even booking hotels. Now it seems public transportation is covered as well.
[Image via ifeng.com]