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WeChat now lets flyers pay offline on flights
Published on: 2019-08-09
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cover 02 副本From groceries to cab rides, most smartphone users in China are used to paying for their purchases with mobile apps.

But there’s a catch to all that convenience: It requires an internet connection. So what happens when you don’t have one, say... in a plane cabin without Wi-Fi? In China, that would usually mean you have to put your phone back into your pocket and whip out cash instead.

030That’s because the country’s two most popular payment apps, Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay, both rely on QR codes.

From now until Sunday, passengers of two Spring Airlines flights between Shanghai and Chengdu can sign up for the trial service before boarding. Successful registrants can use WeChat to purchase food and beverages, souvenirs, blankets and in-flight services on the plane. The bill will be stored on the app until the flight lands. When the device connects to the internet again, the payment is automatically deducted.

031WeChat says it plans to expand the new payment service to more flights, but not every WeChat user can use it. Only those with scores above 550 in WeChat’s commercial social credit program are eligible.

High scorers enjoy advantages like deposit-free car rentals. Some countries also accept Alipay’s Zhima Credit as supporting information for visa applications from Chinese citizens, including Canada, Argentina and Latvia.

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