Geographies in Depth

China is fast becoming the world leader in mobile payment

A salesman shows a new Huawei P30 smartphone to a customer after Huawei's P30 and P30 Pro went on sale at a Huawei store in Beijing, China, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee - RC1EF395EEB0

Mobile payment is a big deal in China. Image: REUTERS/Jason Lee

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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More than half a billion people in China will be paying with their phones in brick-and-mortar shops, cafes and restaurants this year, according to the Statista Digital Market Outlook. That equals a penetration rate of more than 35 percent, the highest in the world.

China’s booming payment apps market is dominated by big players Alipay and WeChat Pay which have been adopted widely by shopkeepers, restaurateurs and consumers alike. In a country where a lot of small enterprises cater to customers, the use of credit cards had never been widely adopted, creating a leapfrog effect where businesses moved directly from cash to payment apps.

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Yet, the overall annual transaction value per customer is higher in the U.S., the UK and France than in China. The average Chinese consumer is projected to spend around US$1,100 with payment apps in 2019, compared to more than US$2,400 in the UK and almost US$3,000 in the U.S. While India and Indonesia also have some of the highest payment app penetration levels in the world, the average spent per customer is extremely low, suggesting only very casual usage by a big chunk of consumers.

Image: Statista
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