wechat pay toronto

Toronto stores rush to add WeChat and Alipay as payment options

Two giant mobile payment apps have made their way to Canada from China, and stores in Toronto are scrambling to cash in on the move. 

Though these apps have had a presence in the city since last year, Cadillac Fairview malls like the Eaton Centre and Sherway Gardens are only now accepting WeChat Pay and AliPay – the preferred mobile wallets of the super wealthy in China – as methods of payment.

Shoppers can use either of these apps to buy a Cadillac Fairview gift card from the guest services kiosk, which they can then use to shop from any store in the mall. 

Oxford property malls like Yorkdale, Scarborough Toronto Centre, and Square One were way ahead of the game, having already adopted the payment systems late last year using the gift card system with a maximum of $7,500 per card. 

The partnership with these apps was facilitated by Tourism Toronto and OTT Financial Inc., a Chinese-Canadian financial group working in tandem with Chinese Internet corporations Alibaba and Tencent to bring their systems to Canada.

Using the umbrella app OTT Pay – which officially launched last year –buyers can use Chinese Yuan Renminbi from their WeChat Pay or AliPay wallets to pay merchants in converted Canadian dollars. 

Even local stores like Riverdale Mac, a small Apple retailer with locations on the Danforth, Beaches and Roncesvalles, and several businesses in Chinatown have partnered with OTT Pay to expand their customer reach. 

According to Tourism Toronto, China is the number one overseas tourism market for the city. In 2016, around 300,000 tourists from China visited the city and spent approximately $275 million  here. 

Expanding from existing payment options like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, these new apps are a way for Canadian companies to tap into the spending power of Chinese tourists and expats.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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