happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

Foreign Blogger Goes Cashless for a Day, Using Only Alipay

"Hangzhou is the world capital of mobile payments"

happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

Can you go a day without cash in China? That’s what one German blogger wanted to know by spending an entire day in Hangzhou, host of the upcoming G20 summit, and the Chinese news was there to report it.

Thomas Dirksen, a Weibo blogger with some 140,000 followers and described as the “German version of Papi Jiang”, challenged himself to see if he could spend an entire day in Hangzhou without using any cash. Dirksen only used the Alipay mobile payment system to make purchases, and found that cashless systems were found throughout Hangzhou, used from everything from food stalls to bus fares.

The facts speak for the themselves: Alipay in supported by a majority of businesses and stores in Hangzhou that include 98 percent of taxis, 95 percent of supermarkets and convenience stores, and over half of the city’s 40,000 restaurants and eateries.

Dirksen has provided Chinese news media with a surplus of quotes and photographs to promote both Hangzhou and Alipay. Here, then, are some of the praise Dirksen had for the upcoming host of the G20 summit:

happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

Truthfully speaking, I’m not willing to leave the house in Frankfurt unless I have money in my pocket. I’ve been to hundreds of cities in over 30 countries, and I have to say that Hangzhou is the world capital of mobile payments, for sure!

happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

I’ve been to over 30 countries all over the world, but there isn’t a city that is as convenient as Hangzhou. Even if it’s a roadside shaobing stall, I can still pay with my mobile wallet.

happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

Chinese have told me that you can use Alipay anywhere. At first I didn’t believe them, and yet now I’m eating a shaobing (paid with Alipay)!

happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

While in Rome, do as the Romans do. All of my Chinese and foreign friends in China use mobile payments. Like me, they all enjoy the convenience of this payment method, so much so that using a mobile phone to take care of your financial needs isn’t even a novel thing anymore.

happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

Even without any cash on hand, you can live an unfettered life in Hangzhou. What a surprise!

happy laowai zhifubao thomas dirksen expat blogger

If you ask me where I learned all of this, it’s from recommendations given by my German and Chinese friends, as well as learning strategies from online forums! Today, I’m challenging myself to spend a day sightseeing without any cash. Before coming here, I did a lot of preparation. But if I were to do this in Germany, it’d be impossible!

Dirksen is a fluent Chinese-speaking graduate of Fudan University who has since married a Chinese woman. When asked how he views Chinese and what he hopes to achieve by learning it, Dirksen had this to say:

Chinese pronunciation and writing is very difficult. I will use all of my ‘primal force” to learn and assimilate myself into the Chinese lifestyle. I will also continue to introduce China to my German friends through better social discourse.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor