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Digital payments in China - statistics & facts

While many countries still struggled to promote mobile payments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, China was already leading the rest of the world in building up a cashless society. The country was leading in user numbers and penetration rates and more than half of the Chinese population uses mobile payments each quarter. Over the years, Alipay and WeChat Pay have ruled the online payment market in China. The country's vibrant FinTech industry also brought about a flourishing e-commerce sector.

From cities to villages

Digital payments have not only been accepted by the tech-savvy middle-class from big cities. It has also changed the lives of rural residents and small business owners. In 2020, more than 20 percent of Chinese mobile payment users were from counties, townships, and villages. The availability of mobile payments gives many people in rural areas access to financial services who had previously been outside the reach of traditional banking infrastructure. It has changed the lives of many rural residents and opened access to new income sources.

Through mobile payments and e-commerce platforms, rural residents not only have access to a broader range of products but also have new sales channels for their locally produced goods. Despite China’s economic and social development, many villages are still very remote and lag behind in living standards and infrastructure development. Via online retail, people can buy many articles that were previously hard to come by. Popular items include clothes and footwear, as well as daily necessities. At the same time, villagers have utilized China’s large e-commerce platforms to market their locally produced products directly to consumers all over the country.

From China to the world

Chinese tourists are big spenders abroad. It is no longer a novelty for the Chinese to pay with Alipay or WeChat Pay in a foreign country. Fulfilling the demand created by the Chinese overseas traveler tourism market, Alipay was accepted by offline merchants in 56 markets across the globe in 2019. For instance, in Germany, the drugstore chain DM-Drogerie which is very popular with Chinese tourists offers an Alipay payment option.

At the same time, Chinese mobile payment companies have also lowered their barriers to overseas users. From November 2019, foreign tourists can use Alipay and WeChat Pay in China with credit cards issued from their countries. In addition to that, Chinese digital payment providers attempt to attract even more overseas merchants to their services.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 21 most important statistics relating to "Digital payments in China".


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