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Opinion
Mobile Payments Go Global
Editorial | NO. 31 AUGUST 3, 2017

Chinese mobile payment service providers are now going abroad. Chinese mobile payment platforms like Alibaba's Alipay have started to offer services in the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia and many European countries. According to data from Alibaba, it has already entered into cooperation with more than 200 financial institutions, including Visa, MasterCard, JBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered, Barclays and Deutsche Bank. Alipay now supports settlement in 18 foreign currencies outside China.

The swift expansion of Chinese mobile payment platforms outside the country is a further development of these platforms after they've gained success in the Chinese market. Today, mobile payment has already become an inseparable part of Chinese people's daily life. By scanning QR codes, they can pay for goods and services such as utilities. Mobile payment spares them the trouble of carrying cash or queuing at banks to withdraw money. Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center reveal that by 2016, 469.2 million netizens had adopted mobile payment.

The expansion of China's mobile payment platforms in international markets implies close connection between China and the international Internet ecosystem. Mobile payment falls into the category of Internet finance, but it needs support from technologies like big data and cloud computing. The smooth connection between China and the rest of the world makes it possible for Chinese mobile payment providers to enter international markets.

Chinese citizens' overseas shopping sprees, which have become a focus of attention, drive Chinese mobile payment platforms to the rest of the world. In 2016, ranking first globally, Chinese tourists spent a total of $261 billion outside China, accounting for 20.9 percent of the world's total travel consumption. In order to attract more Chinese consumers, retailers around the world are adopting Chinese mobile payment services like Alipay.

Chinese mobile payment platforms' expansion overseas is market-based behavior, so competition from Apple Pay and Samsung Pay is inevitable. However, this process of competition will witness improvement and progress of the international mobile payment industry.

According to a report issued by consultancy KPMG, 66 percent of interviewees around the world expressed willingness to use mobile payment. In China, the rate hit 84 percent, which is expected to rise further as more people adopt this payment method. Probably someday soon, the "cashless era"—a major revolution in society—will become reality thanks to mobile payment, consigning banknotes and coins to museums.

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