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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—in user numbers and penetration rates. As of the first quarter of 2020, more than 765 million Chinese have completed at least one mobile transaction once a year, which is more than half of the country's population. In 2019, over 347 trillion yuan was transacted via mobile payment channels, leaping from around 9.6 trillion yuan in 2013. Over the years, Alipay and WeChat Pay ruled the online payment market in China.

From cities to villages

Digital payments were not only accepted by the tech-savvy middle-class from big cities. It also changed the lives of rural residents and small business owners. In 2019, more than 20 percent of Chinese mobile payment users were from counties and townships. Also, about 92 percent of mobile internet users who lived in small-sized towns and villages said they used mobile payments more often compared to cash and credit cards. Mobile wallets now play an essential roles in various scenarios in Chinese life, from giving New Year red envelopes to splitting bills in restaurants.
In China, private and small-sized businesses benefited a lot from the proliferation of digital payments. In 2019, Alipay's parent company Ant Financial announced 28 million small and medium-sized enterprises as their active customers. In the same year, around 50 million offline independent merchants were covered by WeChat Pay, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the total individual businesses in China.

From China to the world

It is not a novelty for Chinese to pay with Alipay or WeChat Pay in a foreign country anymore. 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. Respectively, 60 percent and 35.2 percent of Chinese tourists traveling abroad used Alipay and WeChat Pay.
In the domestic market, 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.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 22 most important statistics relating to "Digital payments in China".

Digital payments in China

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Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Digital payments in China" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Online Payments in China

Mobile Payments in China

User demographics

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