The Mobile Payment Market Today
The mobile payment market has blossomed in recent years. As O2O (online to offline) businesses grow, many have chosen to use Alipay or WeChat Wallet to make and receive payments. Mobile payment is now an option for all aspects of daily consumption including utilities, dining, transportation, clothing, entertainment and social life. Digital payment is always possible at the touch of a button.
There are 668 million internet users and 593 million mobile users in China. Among them, CNNIC estimates that 276 million (47%) mobile users are mobile payment users. Research shows that smartphones and tablets usage is high both during working hours and in users’ spare time. Third-party mobile payment methods such as Alipay or WeChat Wallet have capitalized on these advantages and have distinguished themselves as being the most convenient payment methods.
To encourage consumers to use their mobile wallet, Alipay along with their O2O business partners, have been offering attractive discounts for mobile wallet users. Students at several universities in Beijing can pay by Alipay wallet to save 30% in the school dining halls. Several cafés and fine dining restaurants in central business districts give rewards to consumers who are willing to pay with a mobile wallet. Mobile payers can enjoy much cheaper food in the small restaurants in their local communities as well. On May 13th, Walmart China enabled their customers to pay via Alipay mobile wallet in 25 of their stores in southern China.
WeChat has also been making fantastic innovations in regards to their own mobile payment solutions. According to iResearch, WeChat had gathered 119 million users by the end of 2014. WeChat have masterfully engineered publicity stunts. For example, during the 2015 CCTV Spring Festival Gala, audience were invited to shake their smartphones for a chance to win hongbaos which are red envelopes that are traditionally given as gifts and symbols of good fortune. Since then, it has been reported that around 200 million bank accounts have been linked to WeChat over the 2015 Lunar New Year holidays. Since WeChat is at its core a social platform, WeChat Wallet started by facilitating transactions between friends, like the exchange of hongbaos, AA payments and payment transfers. Its share of the mobile payment market is now growing steadily.
Mobile payment is making amazing progress and it does not see impossible that mobile wallet could one day replace physical wallets and that one day banknotes will only been seen in museum exhibits.