|Half a billion of Chinese pay by mobile phones|
|Author: Matej Balen|
|31st July 2018|
BEIJING – Online payment users number reached 531 million by the end of 2017, an 12% annual increase, according to an annual report of the Internet Society of China.
At the end of 2017 there were 772 million internet users in China, and 97.5 percent of them were mobile internet users, according to the report. Having such a big market of mobile internet users, in combination with strong technological development in IT, has brought fast expansion of the internet and mobile payment services to China. In numbers, online shopping saw a transaction volume of 7.2 trillion yuan (about 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, up 32.2 percent from 2016.
China has the world's largest 4G network and continues to strive for further expansion (currently developing 5G), with the goal of adding 450,000 new base stations this year to improve signal coverage in buildings, elevators, and other indoor spaces, as well as on railroads and expressways.
Apart from online shopping, mobile payments have expanded into stores and restaurants and are now used to pay for just about everything, making China the world's largest mobile payment market.
Mobile payment market, highly convenient and fast to use, has brought the situation in China where many shops, restaurants and taxi drivers are even refusing to receive cash, but prefer Wechat or Alipay online payments.
Tencent’s Wechat Pay, and Alibaba’s Alipay take the far most of the market share. Convenient scanning of the QR code makes safe and fast payment transactions, and this is something that over 500 million Chinese users have got accustomed to.
Chinese tourists would prefer similar convenience of internet payments without the need to bring cash or credit cards, nor exchange money to local currencies when travelling abroad. Countries in Europe like Italy, France and the UK have already started to work with either Wechat or Alipay to adopt to recent changes, especially in shopping centres and tourist hotspots where Chinese tourists are to be expected.