When you deal with consumers in China, WeChat and its payment systems, cannot be ignored. Starbucks did so for years, and lost much business, says business analyst Shaun Rein to Bloomberg. The American company now joined WeChat, although concerns about data safety remain.
About 200 million consumers use Weixin Pay and Alipay, the system owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s financial affiliate, at physical stores because of the ease and speed at which consumers can make purchases. Some overseas retailers have balked at digitized transactions because of costs involved in changing payment systems and concern that data collected could breach customer privacy.
“Accepting mobile payment would unlock massive value for Starbucks,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group, in an interview. “Since they couldn’t move customers through the line faster, they were losing 5 to 10 percent of business.”…
For giants like Starbucks, which is opening stores in China at the pace of more than one a day, the concern was over safeguarding the data of its customer base, said China Market Research Group’s Rein.
“A lot of chains are concerned about too much user-data controlled by Alibaba,” he said. “It’s their customers, but now all the data goes to the mobile payment providers. There are concerns about confidentiality.”
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