Further evidence that Tencent and Alibaba are taking over the world: 35 7-Eleven outlets in Toronto and Metro Vancouver are now accepting the two e-commerce giants’ mobile payment platforms, WeChat Pay and Alipay.
Of the 35 stores participating in the new payment scheme, 25 are located in Vancouver and the neighboring cities of Richmond and Burnaby. According to the Vancouver Sun, plans are in place to expand the number of Canadian 7-Eleven stores that accept the Chinese mobile payment platforms in the coming months.
READ MORE: How to Set Up Alipay on Your Phone
“This expansion of 7-Eleven Canada’s payment options is an exciting way to better service Chinese travelers, 65 percent of whom use mobile payment platforms while traveling overseas, and engage with over one billion consumers who are actively using Alipay and WeChat as their preferred payment methods,” 7-Eleven said in a press release cited by the Vancouver Sun. “The Chinese [people] are the most digitized shoppers in the world, and 7-Eleven Canada hopes that, through this expansion into digital payments, they will be able to provide customers with an elevated convenience experience.”
The media release further states that 7-Eleven is the first convenience store chain in Canada to accept Alipay and WeChat Pay and that the new payment system has been made possible through a partnership with cross-border payment company Citcon. According to ATMmarketplace.com, Citcon is a firm that specializes in assisting retailers to integrate Alipay and WeChat Pay into their payment systems.
In May of 2017, it was announced that Citcon was partnering with Tencent to bring WeChat’s digital payment platform to the US market.
A 7-Eleven on Vancouver’s Davie Street. Image via @damanbeatty/Instagram
While this may (or may not, we don’t know) be exciting news for Chinese visitors to Canada looking to score a Slurpee or Big Gulp, Canadian expats living in China will be unable to utilize the platforms when visiting home. From our experiences in Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and, most recently, Thailand, Chinese e-payment methods cannot be used by laowai outside the Chinese mainland.
A Tencent employee we spoke with confirmed to us that cross-border payments can currently only be done by WeChat users with a Chinese ID card linked to their WeChat account, which must be linked to a bank account on the Chinese mainland.
Below, a complete list of 7-Eleven stores in the Vancouver metropolitan area that are currently accepting WeChat Pay and Alipay (list compiled by the Vancouver Sun):
Vancouver 7-Eleven Stores
6904 Victoria Dr & E 53rd Ave
1294 Granville Street & Drake
596 Seymour Street & Dunsmuir
1055 Denman Street & Comox
904 Davie St & Hornby St
1093 Homer Street & Helmcken
651 Robson & Granville
99 Smithe Street & Beatty
982 Granville St
3304 Kingsway & Joyce
4894 Knight St & E 33rd Ave
3295 E 22nd Ave & Rupert St
3695 W 10th Ave & Alma St
2415 East 1st Avenue & Nanaimo
710 W 6th Ave & Heather St
2092 E Hastings & Lakewood
1099-88 West Pender St (556 Abbott St)
310 Robson St & Hamilton
Richmond 7-Eleven Stores
8000 #3 Road & Blundell
10991 #1 Rd & Steveston
8080 Williams Rd & #3 Rd
8360 Granville & St. Albans
9471 #2 Rd & Woodward
13 3880 Grant McConachie Way
Burnaby 7-Eleven Store
37860 4444 Kingsway
(Sorry Toronto, but the addresses for the 10 stores in your city were much more difficult to find).
The number of Chinese visitors to Canada rose by 12 percent last year to 682,000 arrivals, according to Destination Canada, making the PRC the largest source of tourists from the Asia-Pacific region. Most Chinese visitors to the Great White North come during the summer months, July and August, and stay for roughly 31 days. These tourists spend close to CAD2,400 on average per visit, meaning Chinese visitors are responsible for injecting hundreds of millions of dollars in the Canadian economy each year.
7-Eleven Canada, it appears, is looking to get in on this action by ensuring that Chinese customers can use a payment system that is both convenient and familiar to them (about 70 percent of Chinese people use mobile payment methods, according to Citcon).
[Cover image via Wikimedia, @7elevencanada/Instagram]