A customer presents their Alipay QR code to pay for their purchases at supermarket in Shanghai. Credit: Imaginechina via AP Images The widening divergence between China and the West in recent years is not just about politics and ideology. Even the technologies that make everyday life possible have moved apart. For years, foreign visitors to China have been unable to use Western credit cards to pay in many restaurants and shops. That’s because Chinese vendors typically require customers to pay using mobile payment systems available only to those with a Chinese bank account. With tourist numbers to China now in sharp decline, that situation is finally changing. In July, China’s largest mobile payments system Alipay announced partnerships with Visa and Mastercard which allow users to link foreign cards and bank accounts to Alipay’s electronic wallet. The agreement has been long in the making. Mastercard and Visa first announced in 2019 that they would work with Chinese mobile payment systems to allow its customers to participate in the cashless economy. But the mobile payment systems did not alloSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.