More and more Chinese outbound travelers are able to communicate in English, shifting the language problem in many countries rather to the side of the locals who might only be able to speak their local language, like German, French or Russian.
Technology and artificial intelligence are helping to mitigate the language barriers for Chinese abroad: such as mobile translation machines, handheld devices which supported different languages and could be operated by talking into it in, say, Chinese and having the machine translating into spoken Portuguese.
Many of these machines are now cloud-connected, so they actually become smarter over time and adapt to the specific topics often used by the user.
Another major development adding to the Chinese tourist’s toolkit has been WeChat Mini Programs helping with orientation, finding shops and restaurant and other services for the individual traveler abroad.
Recently Alipay introduced the “Overseas Taxi” mini program in its app, which allows payments in RMB for services provided by Lyft, Gett, Taxify, and Grab in many countries including the United States, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
Chinese travelers don’t have to struggle with language barriers to get around, because the app will display maps in Chinese and send messages to drivers in Chinese which are automatically translated. Alipay plans to roll out Overseas Taxi in over 100 cities in 20 countries before the end of 2019.
Tencent is also bringing more Mini Program overseas, especially to Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea and Australia, where Mini Programs are widely accepted.
Launched only in 2017, Mini Programs are built into Tencent’s WeChat, which boasts over one billion users as of now. With Mini Programs, users can enjoy many different services incorporated in the WeChat system, without the hassle of downloading each and every app separately.
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