Smartphones replacing wallets in China

Smartphones replacing wallets in China
A Chinese woman in Shanghai uses her smartphone in place of a wallet.

Shanghai - Mobile payment is flourishing in China.

It is not limited to online shopping either. People are using their smartphones or other mobile devices to do everything from paying taxi fares to exchanging money with friends. The number of people using such mobile settlement options was more than 200 million in 2014. The value of such transactions totaled some US$1 trillion (S$1.4 trillion), according to one survey.

"I can't do without it," a worker at Mazda Mortor's Chinese subsidiary in Shanghai said, holding an Apple iPhone. The phone has become her "wallet." She uses Alipay Wallet, the online payment application of Alibaba Group, which has a more than 80 per cent share of China's mobile payments market.

"The only money in my bank account is for investing," she said. "The money I use for everyday needs is all in Alipay." Several passwords are required from when the app is launched to the point when payments are made.

Alipay Wallet offers a variety of options. Going to Alibaba's Taobao online auction site allows one to purchase not just apparel and food, but also movie and airline tickets. The app can also be used to pay credit card and utility bills. Unused funds draw more than 4 per cent in annual interest.

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