China’s mobile payments revolution is being spearheaded by millennials
Over the span of a few short years, China has undergone a mobile payments revolution that now sees the country’s reliance on cash payments dwindling, Yuan Yang writes for the Financial Times. Last year alone, China accounted for nearly half of the world’s digital payments. Chinese citizens have become accustomed to using mobile payments for everything from stores to food stalls to transportation services, and many of these services no longer accept cash payments. “This transformation has been spearheaded by millennials, who were the early adopters of mobile payments, but it has rapidly spread across generations. Millennials’ parents — the 40-60 age group — have adapted to the technology, especially in big cities, although they tend to use it for fewer functions … Only the older generations cling on to cash.”
The increased reliance on fintech has also led to a behavioral shift in how people handle money in China. Whereas older generations traditionally relied on saving up their own income to be able to afford big purchases, China’s millennials are opening up the space for credit and lending services. Altogether, China’s fintech advancements are significant.
But these services are struggling to expand internationally because most other countries are significantly lagging in providing the necessary infrastructure and culture. Can you imagine trying to make an Egyptian fruit vendor accept e-payments? Consumers are also wary that relying so heavily on apps and e-payments would turn their data privacy into a martyr.