Popular Payment Modes in China Foreign Businesses Must Know

If you are willing to source Chinese wholesale products, it becomes really important for you to remain aware of the different modes of fund transferring. Be it making a payment to your sourcing agent in China or transferring money to the account of your partner, knowing the process of sending money to China should be your top priority.

There are several payment methods you can opt for such as

  • Credit and debit card payments
  • Direct debit payments
  • EFTPOS payments
  • Online payments (eg Paypal)
  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Money order payments
  • Gift cards and vouchers
  • Bitcoin and digital currencies

While making a payment to their Chinese wholesale suppliers, foreign businesses need to keep in mind that each payment mode has its unique advantages and disadvantages. You can’t pinpoint a single mode ideal or flawless. The best payment method depends on the needs of your China business.

Generally speaking, China is still a cash economy in large parts of the country. If you intend to travel to smaller cities and rural areas, you shouldn’t rely on alternative methods of payment. A stack of banknotes is the easiest way of paying for wholesale goods. Obviously, things look rather different in the big coastal metropolises. The landscape of online payment methods in China has changed dramatically over the last couple of years.

Take a look at some of the payment methods you can opt for in China


Alipay is the only payment system used on Taobao, and that is what we consider the eBay of China. Alipay has the biggest market share in China with over 550 million members and a daily transaction volume of over 2.5 billion yuan. It’s the only payment option accepted by Tmall and Taobao, two giant e-commerce platforms having 83% share of the mobile online shopping market


PayPal entered into China in 2005 and it is the most common payment method used by Chinese buyers to purchase goods from other countries. Unlike Alipay, it only provides immediate payment. Foreign businesses can easily make any sort of payments to their Chinese wholesale suppliers using PayPal.


Tencent’s Tenpay is Alipay’s main competitor in the payments industry. Tenpay can be used to send/receive payments, withdraw money from bank accounts, charge mobiles, deposit money in game accounts and buy air tickets. Tenpay is linked to over 80 financial institutions with over 300 access points.

Image source: https://blog.chineseseoshifu.com/online-payment-methods-china/


Other popular payment methods

Travelers’ Cheques-

A more secure option is traveler’s cheques. The great thing about these cheques is that they’re practically risk-free and extremely cheap. Some people might prefer carrying travelers’ cheques to large wads of cash. You normally can’t use them to pay for anything directly, but you can cash them at most major banks as long as you show a valid passport.

Bank Transfer

The obvious method of transferring money is to send it from your US bank into your Chinese account. You can also send it directly to the bank account of your Chinese sourcing agents. These are the procedures you need to follow to:

  • Go to your US bank
  • Set up your Chinese account as a ‘new wire recipient’
  • Make the transfer online (assuming you’re in China)

Entrepreneurs and business owners should have a clear-cut knowledge about the fund transferring process in China. The most difficult task is not only to decide which platform is the best one but also the different factors that you need to take into consideration when deciding which gateway best fits your needs for making payments to your Chinese wholesale suppliers. Choosing a proper payment gateway can prove really valuable for the smooth operation of your business in China.

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