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Opinion
Mobile Payment Should Be Part of BRICS Cooperation
Chinese enterprises will not only bring capital, products and infrastructure to BRICS countries, but also provide them with technology, services and train local professionals
 NO. 38 SEPTEMBER 21, 2017
A tourist is going to pay for his meal via Alipay's app in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 30. So far, Alipay has connected with 10,000 vendors in South Africa (XINHUA)

Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future was the theme of the 2017 BRICS Summit held in Xiamen on September 3-5. As important participants in efforts to strengthen partnership between BRICS countries, Chinese enterprises will not only bring capital, products and infrastructure to BRICS countries, but also provide them with technology, services and train local professionals. Based on the respect of local cultures, Chinese enterprises will work together with local companies to boost economic development throughout BRICS countries.

China's mobile payment systems have become an important tool for trade and finance among BRICS countries. Mobile payment benefits the public, helping China to facilitate BRICS cooperation. Therefore, making mobile payment part of BRICS cooperation efforts is important in terms of pragmatic collaboration.

In the Internet era, e-commerce is a core market among BRICS countries. According to figures from related international organizations, half of global services trade is now realized through digital methods, and about 12 percent of trade in goods is done through e-commerce. Cross-border e-commerce payment systems among BRICS countries are necessary for the development of multilateral e-commerce.

Some scholars think China is becoming a global contributor and leader rather than a follower in the field of mobile payment. The country continues to share its experience and solutions with the rest of the world in this field. Recently China's high-speed railway system, Alipay (China's leading third-party online payment service provider), online shopping and bike-sharing businesses have been deemed the "new four great inventions" by youths from 20 countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. Many countries are now learning from China's experience.

While finance reflects a country's soft power, trade cooperation is an important foundation for BRICS cooperation for which finance is necessary. According to the theory of modern economics, finance is the lifeblood of economic development. For modern companies, cross-border trade cannot proceed without finance.

In ancient times, the circulation of silver dollars was crucial for long-distance trade. Now, the level of convenience for cross-border payment and circulation decides the quality and quantity of trade cooperation between countries. Mobile payment has broadened the space for trade among BRICS countries. For instance, after Alipay was connected to Brazilian payment tool Boleto, the latter obtained the ability of cross-border payment via Alipay. Russian payment channels such as Webmoney and Qiwi have also been able to provide local and cross-border payment services after liaising with Alipay.

Mobile payment has helped improve China's image in the BRICS group and facilitated payment in an attempt to realize the goal of building a big market of trade and investment, promoting smooth flows of currency and finance, improving infrastructure connectivity and building close bonds between people as mentioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum on September 3.

Xi also said the five BRICS countries are engaged in practical cooperation across the board, covering several dozen areas, including economy, trade, finance, science, technology, education, culture and health. In my opinion, mobile payment is an important part of cooperation in these fields, and part of China's contribution to "BRICS wisdom."

This is an edited excerpt of an article written by Pan Helin, a post-doctoral researcher with the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, and published in China.com.cn

Copyedited by Bryan Michael Galvan

Comments to yushujun@bjreview.com

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