While American consumers cling to plastic Chinese mobile payments grew to almost 50 times greater than those in the US in 2016. China’s lead over the US is mostly the result of the lack of other viable options for non-cash payments.
China’s lead over the US in mobile payments is also the result of the lack of other viable options for non-cash payments. Credit card penetration in China is small compared to that of developed markets, while online payments with debit cards are cumbersome — usually requiring authentication through a combination of SMS messages, USB dongles and random code generators. By contrast, payment with Alipay or WeChat is much more streamlined and requires only the scan of a QR code from a retailer’s point-of-service terminal or a smartphone.