Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing Lead Mobile Payment Development Of China

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A customer displays the AliExpress app on a mobile phone, after Safaricom secured a deal to use its M-Pesa mobile payment service for online shopping on one of Alibaba's platforms, at their offices in Nairobi, Kenya March 12, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/George Nganga)

A recent report showed that Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing were the leading Chinese cities in terms of development in mobile payment in 2018. The report on China's mobile payment development was jointly released by the State Information Center, China Economic Information Service, and Ant Financial.

The report provides the rank that was based on indexes that measures the mutual promotion between mobile payment and urban competitiveness. The report said that Beijing topped the cities in terms of mobile payment information technology. Shanghai is the leader in the use of mobile payments in business consumption. Hangzhou is at the top in using mobile payments in government affairs and livelihood.

The report also said that mobile payment is reshaping traditional consumption patterns and catalyzing new business models after it became a significant impetus for the country's economic growth.

According to Ant Financial Vice President Yang Peng, mobile payment played a crucial role in boosting the urban economy, improving employment and accelerating consumption upgrading. The digital economy of China last year reached 31.3 trillion yuan which accounted for 34.8 percent of China's total GDP.

According to reports, China's mobile payment transactions reached a record 81 trillion from January to October of 2018. The record was driven by a large number of consumers in China who have looked beyond credit cards to more convenient, cashless systems. China surpassed the United States in terms of mobile payments.

Xinhua News agency reported that official figures from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology which said that the 10-month total exceeded the 58.8 trillion yuan in mobile payment transactions on the mainland during the whole 2016.

The mobile payments boom in China was triggered by the fast adoption of online retail, financial and on-demand services including ride-sharing activities. China is the world's largest internet and smartphone market.

Mobile payments are used in many transactions. It is used in upgrading smartphone games, in ordering food online, in purchasing movie tickets and in many things. Popular mobile payment apps, including WeChat and Alipay, enabled the consumers to go straight from cash to smartphone.

According to Paul Haswell, a senior partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, China is recognized as the most advanced market for mobile payments in the world because of WeChat and Alipay.

He added that, essentially, the use of credit and debit cards in China is relatively cumbersome compared to making WeChat payments. He also said that many Chinese cities are now the closest the world has to cashless consumer economies.

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