Nepal bans Chinese digital wallets

WeChat Pay and Alipay, two hugely popular Chinese digital wallets now banned in Nepal.

DHARAMSALA, 22 May: Nepal has banned the use of Chinese digital wallets such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, violators to face criminal investigation.

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has announced the ban on the usage of WeChat Pay and Alipay, two hugely popular Chinese digital wallets earlier on Monday stating that the country was losing foreign income due to illegal use of those payment applications by Chinese tourists, reports The Himalayan Times.

“These activities are illegal. That’s why we have banned the use of those applications in Nepal,” NRB Spokesperson Laxmi Prapanna Niroula was quoted as saying in the report.

It is understood that most Chinese tourists who visit Nepal were using WeChat Pay and Alipay, these payment applications are also used by Chinese nationals who operate hotels, restaurants and other businesses in Nepal.

According to the report, Nepal has pointed out they are losing foreign income due to illegal’ payment and transactions carried through those Chinese applications.

The transaction on the Chinese digital wallets means payment for services acquired in Nepal are made in China because the Chinese digital wallets are not registered in Nepal, the report said.

After the ban, those who use WeChat Pay and Alipay now risk facing criminal investigation.

“If people are found using Chinese payment applications, criminal investigation will be launched against them,” the NRB Spokesperson has added.

Tourism sector generates the third largest source of foreign income for Nepal after worker remittance and merchandise exports. The report estimated that 153,602 Chinese tourists visited Nepal in 2018, a 46.8 per cent increase compared to 2017.

Efforts are made by the Nepalese government to attract even more Chinese tourists in the Year 2020. A government campaign aims to attract two million foreign tourists.

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