The London-based EMEA office of Chinese tech giant Ant Financial on Tuesday released updated Alipay statistics during the Golden Week holiday from Oct. 1 to 7 this year.
It showed that although cities in Europe are comparatively less visited destinations for Chinese tourists, overseas spending through Alipay in this region continued to increase, compared to the same period last year, thanks to the mass roll-out of Alipay to merchants across the region over the last 12 months.
Among the 19 European countries that have already provided Alipay service, Britain, which begun to offer the service to Chinese customers since 2016, ranks first in terms of transaction volume, while Switzerland saw the fastest growth -- 27 times the volume of transactions than that in 2017.
Spain, Russia and Norway have all experienced huge year-on-year increases as the Alipay transaction volume in these countries surged over 10 times.
In Europe, the average spending per user increased to 1,979 Chinese yuan (about 288 U.S. dollars) from last year's 1,534 yuan. Average spending per user was highest in Denmark at 8,764 yuan, followed by France and Italy.
Globally, Alipay processed 2.2 times as many overseas in-store transactions during this year's holiday compared to last year.
At the start of the Golden Week national holiday season, Alipay's European boss Roland Palmer told the Evening Standard that London was the focus of Alipay's international expansion.
"We've signed up thousands of merchants in the last six months; we've seen a 60-percent growth in the UK, activating most of Chinatown's stores, supermarkets and restaurants, plus the London Eye, Sealife and other Merlin Entertainment venues," he said. "We have a long waiting list of High Street brands and restaurant chains who want to use Alipay."
Some 337,000 Chinese tourists flocked to Britain last year, a 29-percent rise on 2016, spending up 35 percent to a record of 694 million pounds (905 million U.S. dollars) during their stays, according to the country's national tourism agency VisitBritain.