Those hoping to offer online payments within China are in for some good news. According to the South China Morning Post, the majority of Chinese are opting for electronic payments as opposed to cash, checks or other forms. In fact, check usage among the Chinese is slowing at a rapid rate of 29 percent each year.
The Post reported that the 96 million checks written by mainland Chinese this year have totaled about 5 trillion yuan. The total number of noncash payments is far greater – in the months of July, August and September, Chinese consumers electronically spent 86 trillion yuan. The current exchange rate puts these numbers at approximately $781 billion and $13 trillion, respectively.
The Post also noted that it is difficult to accurately track e-payments due to their various forms. However, enough of them pass through the People's Bank of China – the nation's central bank – to suggest a market worth 553 trillion yuan (about $86 trillion). E-commerce payments made up the majority of such transactions in mainland China, though the Post also reported on electronic bills. Such bills were found to be more popular than their traditional counterparts and increasing in use at a rate of 58 percent each year.
The majority of e-commerce payments were conducted on a mobile device. The Post mentioned that since 2014, China's mobile market has increased by 254 percent.
Foreign companies to arrive in China
These numbers could indicate unfortunate news for the traditional Chinese banking system, according to the Post. However, they could be of interest to foreign companies looking to enter the Chinese market or offer electronic payments to the nation's many consumers. Apple will likely be the first to do so, according to Forbes. The tech giant hopes to launch its Apple Pay service in China before the Lunar New Year, a cultural holiday that usually brings in a lot of revenue for businesses. However, Apple is still going through the approval process, so the launch could be delayed. This isn't surprising, as Forbes mentioned, since this would be the first time the nation allowed a major foreign company to provide electronic payments within Chinese borders. MasterCard, PayPal and Visa have also been attempting to launch their services in China for some time. The market is currently dominated by Chinese organizations such as UnionPay and Alipay.
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