A decade ago, in China cash was king. But in less than another decade, the same country could be the first fully cashless society, says business analyst Ben Cavender to AFP. Cavender estimates China’s mobile payment market is already 40-50 times larger than the United States
China was the first country in the world to use paper money but centuries later the soaring popularity of mobile payment has some analysts forecasting it could be the first to stop.
The gross merchandise value of third party mobile payment rose more than 200 percent to 38 trillion yuan (about $5.6 trillion) in 2016 from a year earlier, according to China-based iResearch.
The growth of the cash-free system has been supported by China’s rapidly expanding e-commerce market as Chinese shoppers increasingly shun bricks and mortar stores.
“I think it’s really very possible that China becomes the first or one of the first cashless societies in the next decade,” said Ben Cavender, a director at China Market Research Group.
Cavender estimates China’s mobile payment market is already 40-50 times larger than the United States.
Alipay, started by e-commerce giant Alibaba and now owned by its affiliate Ant Financial, and WeChat Pay, which is built into Tencent’s popular messaging service, have hundreds of millions of users between them and are China’s dominant payment platforms.
In Beijing it is hard to find a product or a service that cannot be purchased with a mobile.
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