China is often a frontrunner when it comes to the adoption of digital trends. Mobile payments, for example, have long become omnipresent in the Chinese everyday shopping reality. Whereas in other parts of the world, a great part of consumers still prefer to pay with credit or debit cards or even with cash. 82% of Chinese internet users used online payments at least once in 2020.
In the United States, for example, the ratio of users and non-users of mobile payments is almost reversed. 83% of US internet users have not used any mobile payment services in 2020. Only 17% are online payment users.
However, when comparing it to other countries in Asia Pacific, China is only in midfield when it comes to the adoption of online payments. Countries such as Hong Kong, Thailand or Taiwan have an even higher percentage of frequent mobile payment users. In terms of absolute user numbers, China is yet unbeaten. No wonder, given its huge population. Even though there are countless providers of online payment services in China, consumers have one clear favorite.
The Chinese mobile payment app landscape is diverse. In addition, many services reach remarkable user numbers. The top ten most frequently used payment apps in China all reach at least 700,000 monthly active users.
However, one service dwarfs all the others. Tech giant Alibaba’s payment service Alipay reaches as many as 676.5 million monthly active users. This is a massive lead. The number of monthly active users of Alipay is more than twenty times as high as the user numbers of ranks two to five taken together.
The payment app of UnionPay, China’s card payment giant, reaches the second highest number of monthly active users in China, 10.6 million. Bestpay, Huawei Wallet, and Yi Wallet follow, with monthly active user numbers between 5.2 million and 8.8 million. Baidu Wallet, the payment service offered by the Chinese search engine Baidu, registers 2.7 million monthly active users. Ranks seven to ten are further off. They have similar monthly active user numbers between 700,000 and 1 million.
Given that the usage of a payment app ensures a completely contactless payment process, mobile payment services have become an even more convenient means of payment especially in COVID-19 pandemic times.
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