TAIPEI, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Like other tourists from the Chinese mainland, Mr. Zhang had to go to the bank frequently to exchange cash when staying in Taiwan about a year ago.

He recalls he had to carry money and several bank cards at all times during his stay on the island.

Things have changed. Zhang, who is visiting the island again, said he hasn't had to exchange cash so often because he can pay via his mobile phone.

WeChat payment and Alipay, the most popular mobile payment services in the Chinese mainland, have grown rapidly in Taiwan.

WeChat payment and Alipay are increasingly accepted at various stores and supermarkets in Taipei, along with Visa, UnionPay and Line Pay.

At the Sa Sa cosmetics store in the Xinyi district of Taipei, mainland customer Ms. Liu paid quickly via WeChat by placing her mobile phone under a scanning machine. The app produced an e-receipt detailing the tagged price in U.S. dollars, her actual spending in yuan, the exchange rate, and time and place of the transaction.

"It's really convenient, since I do not have to exchange money or carry too much cash," she said.

Sa Sa introduced WeChat payment in September. Now about 40 percent of its mainland customers pay by WeChat and the percentage is expected to rise steadily in 2017, according to Peggy Hsu, a Sa Sa marketing manager.

WeChat's payment service, based on the popular instant messaging app WeChat, entered Taiwan in January 2016. Within just a year, it has become accepted in over 30,000 stores across the island, said Fanny Lin, regional director of Tencent's overseas business group.

"The service is available to mainland customers in the landmark Taipei 101 building, the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department stores, Sun Moon Lake resort and even on some off-shore islands," Lin said.

Around 9,600 convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and Family Mart, have recently introduced WeChat payment.

It is not only an improved shopping experience for mainland customers, but also saves time and costs for Taiwanese stores.

"It's easier to use and faster. More importantly, the convenience will make customers more likely to pay," said Hsu I-yu, a sales staff member for a sports brand in Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, a major department store chain in Taipei.

WeChat now has 846 million users worldwide, up 30 percent year on year, according to Tencent's third-quarter earnings report from 2016. More than 300 million users have registered to use the WeChat payment service.

WeChat payment is available in 11 countries and regions, the WeChat payment team said Friday.

Currently, WeChat's payment service is unavailable to Taiwan residents. Mobile payment services, including WeChat payment, are cooperating with local banks for cross-border payment business certifications.

"Based on the sellers' feedback, WeChat payment has indeed brought real benefits, boosting their sales," said Shen Shun Yi, a senior digital business employee of WeChat payment's Taiwan partner, Hua Nan Bank.

Cooperation with mainland mobile payment services will also help Taiwan banks improve service to medium-sized and small companies and strengthen economic and trade cooperation between the mainland and Taiwan, said Wu Bochen, manager of the digital application department of First Bank, another WeChat payment partner.

By introducing mobile payment services, Taiwan's merchants want to explore new payment methods and establish long-term contact with mainland customers to help their e-commerce business target the mainland market, said Fanny Lin.

Trabzonspor's Salih Dursun (right) shows a red card to referee Deniz Ates Bitnel after a controversial ejection arose during the Turkish Super Lig soccer match between Galatasaray and Trabzonspor in Istanbul on Sunday. Photo: IC

Turkish soccer faced new questions over the credibility of the game on Monday after an anarchic clash between Galatasaray and Trabzonspor ended with just seven players from the Black Sea side on the pitch and one of its players showing the referee a red card.

The Sunday night Super Lig clash between Galatasaray of Istanbul and Trabzonspor of Trabzon - one of the most -venomous rivalries in the Turkish game - was marked by a litany of penalties Joshua Kimmich Germany Jersey , ill discipline and poor refereeing.

Trabzonspor had already had two -players sent off by referee Deniz Ates Bitnel when Belgian defender Luis Cavanda was deemed to have brought down Umut Bulut in the penalty box in the 86th minute and was himself dismissed.

Trabzonspor players remonstrated with the referee, and in the fracas Trabzonspor defender Salih Dursun pinched the referee's card red and brandished it in front of Bitnel.

Bitnel then recovered the card Jonas Hector Germany Jersey , using it to send Dursun off. Selcuk Inan stepped up to score the penalty, winning the game 2-1 for Galatasaray.

"There are messages from all over Turkey Jerome Boateng Germany Jersey , saying 'we are ashamed,'" Trabzonspor Chairman Muharrem Usta said after the game.

"Tonight Ilkay Gundogan Germany Jersey , Salih Dursun showed the red card to Turkish football. This is not a symbol of rebellion. It is a symbol of rebirth."

Sports daily Fanatik ran the headline "A card that was 100 percent right" above a picture of Dursun showing the red card and listed six major errors the referee made in the game.

Far from sanctioning Dursun, Trabzonspor announced that the club started printing T-shirts showing Dursun making the already iconic gesture for sale in the official shop.

The team was given a hero's welcome by fans when they flew back to Trabzon after the away clash in Istanbul Emre Can Germany Jersey , television footage showed.

Turkish soccer has seen a huge influx of foreign talent in the past several years, and the game saw Netherlands star Wesley Sneijder and Germany's Lukas Podolski turning out for Galatasaray.

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