The Complete Guide to WeChat Pay and Alipay Integration for China

By Todd KuhnsLast Updated on Jan 15, 2021
The Complete Guide to WeChat Pay and Alipay Integration for China

If you are planning to distribute your mobile app, game, or SaaS platform in Mainland China, you will need to rethink your payment system. The Chinese payments market is overwhelmingly dominated by two local companies, and you will be find little success unless you use these to process in-app payments and website payments.

Although you may know the names, you are probably unfamiliar with these payment systems and how they work, especially on the mainland. Here is a starter’s guide for developers and publishers on integrating payments for Mainland China.

Which payment systems are used in China?

WeChat Pay and Alipay logos.
WeChat Pay and Alipay are overwhelmingly the payment methods of choice in Mainland China, for both online and offline payments.

Mainland Chinese usually use one of two mobile payment systems: WeChat Pay and Alipay. They each work basically the same:

To transmit an instant payment to the payee, you can either present your QR code through the app for scanning by the payee, or you can scan the payee’s QR code.

Even for website payments, sites will often just generate a QR code for the user to scan.

WeChat Pay and Alipay can also be integrated into your app or game for in-app payments. Submitting a payment in your app “links” to the user’s WeChat Pay or Alipay app on their phone, and can deduct money from their account with a simple authentication method through their device.

A user presents their payment QR code for scanning at a retail shop
A user presents their payment QR code for scanning at a retail shop.

Which payment system should you use for China?

We highly recommend you integrate both into your app, because Chinese consumers are used to this choice, and the payment setup is basically the same.

But if you MUST choose only one, we choose WeChat because we’ve seen more users opt for WeChat Pay when given the choice.

wechat point of sale scanning example
A user pays by scanning a QR code at a physical point of sale in China.

How do I integrate Alipay or WeChat Pay payments into my app, game or SaaS platform?

  • First, you need to have a Chinese company.
  • Your company must then open a bank account with a Chinese bank, and then apply for a developer account with WeChat Pay and AliPay.
  • After your developer’s account is approved, apply for an app ID from WeChat Pay and Alipay.
  • For WeChat, you must also apply separately for the WeChat Pay function.
  • Use the WeChat Pay and Alipay SDKs and your own backend and frontend systems to integrate payments into your app.
WeChat pay example
WeChat Pay in action.

Important Limitations

Before you begin this process on your own, there are some other important considerations to keep in mind:

  • You will need to speak Chinese to complete this process, as all forms, documentation, and support are provided in Mandarin only.
  • Your money will be deposited to a Chinese bank account, so you will need to work out a reliable system to convert the currency and transfer to your company accounts outside of China.
  • Each payment system will automatically deduct a per-transaction fee. However, neither company will keep track of sales and withholding taxes you are required to submit to the Chinese tax authority each year. We recommend finding an experienced tax specialist to do this for you.
  • It’s also important to note that neither WeChat Pay nor Alipay usually allow you to set up recurring payments. So if you sell a subscription-based service, you will need to either ask for special approval or devise your own way of reminding the user to renew their subscription.
  • Note that neither WeChat Pay nor Alipay currently offer an English-language backend for analytics and payments tracking.

The AppInChina Advantage

But there is an easier way.

AppInChina Pay provides a complete and convenient one-stop solution for monetizing your app, game or website with WeChat Pay and Alipay.

  • Chinese entity not required. Unlike some of our competitors, you don’t need to have a Chinese entity or company to sign up for our service.
  • Faster and easier setup process. All we need is your app name, package name, and a few screenshots, and we will provide you an app ID.
  • Secure backend. Our provided backend will ensure the security of all transactions, leaving only the frontend integration to your development team, which we can assist with.
  • English-language dashboard. You also do not need to navigate the WeChat Pay and Alipay dashboards in Chinese, as we will give you all of the information you need, in English, in the Monetization tab on your client dashboard.
  • Open API. Unlike other solutions, AppInChina Pay has an Open API, which allows you to pull this data and use it however you wish, such as importing it into your company’s own financial software, or to track user behavior through your own analytics system.
  • We take care of taxes for you. We will submit required taxes to the Chinese tax authorities on your behalf, leaving the money you receive as pure net profit.

Link: AppInChina Pay documentation

payments dashboard screenshot example
If you are a current client, simply request access to our monetization platform through your AppInChina dashboard.

Contact AppInChina today, to find out how we can help you monetize your app, game or website.