Fintech Technology and Innovation

The evolution of digital in China: late 2017 update

China is now the No.2 economic country in the world, as you may already know.

However, what do you imagine first when you hear of “China”?
Delicious Chinese food? A lot of people riding on bikes?
Messy, loud and busy cities as a scene of a movie?
If you haven’t taken a look at China, the digital reality of China may be surprising to you!

Would you imagine that this mysterious country has become one of the most evolved countries regarding digital? I guess that you wouldn’t, so I will show you current China with surprising examples!

  1. What’s happening in China?

Nowadays, innovative services have been born in China, and it’s really changing the population’s life styles!
(1) FinTech
How do you usually pay when you are enjoying shopping?
I pay with credit card, bank card, and of course cash, and I believe you are doing it as well. However, in China, people are going for a cashless-society now!

They can pay for anything with smartphones, in restaurants, stores, markets, cinemas, taxis…anywhere! I can say we don’t have to go to China without any cash.
But how do they do that? The answer is simple, they are just using “QR-code” and “Smartphone apps”

In most stores, there are QR-codes for payment instead of cash registers,
and all we have to do is just below process!
1. Launch an app
2. Scan the QR-code
3. Enter the password and price
4. Send the money!

Example of QR code usage at a restaurant

Now, can you guess how much FinTech is booming in the society?
There is a surprising result of surveys!

1. The size of the mobile payment market in China has reached $8.6 trillion (RMB58.8 trillion) in 2016

Source: China Mobile Payment Report 2017, WALKTHECHAT

2. 84% of Chinese people say that they don’t feel uncomfortable even if they don’t carry any cashes


3. On average, 82% of Chinese people in all of regions in China accept this cashless lifestyle


Also, there is a story which might astonish you.
According to a Chinese friend of mine, even beggars in the streets show their QR-codes to pedestrians to get money!
Now you see that Chinese people really love FinTech!
And I will tell you why they have been succeeding at FinTech later!

(2) Bike-Sharing
At the beginning of this article, probably some of you thought of “Bikes” about China, and now this traditional transportation is booming in a new way thanks to technologies! This is “Bike-Sharing”, but it’s not like “Velib” in France or other services, so take a closer look!

In China, we don’t have to look for bike stations and go through sign ups!
We can ride on bikes and put them back anywhere, anytime!
I will now explain how it works!

1. Launch an app and find a bike

Source: ofo

(Left: Mobike, Right: ofo)


2. Scan the QR-code of a bike, and you can unlock it

Source: ofo

(Left: Mobike, Right: ofo)

3. Let’s ride and you will see the cost after the putting it back!

Source: ofo

Mainly, 2 Chinese companies, ofo and mobike, are battling for the shares of Chinese market, and both are amazingly increasing users! (May 2017, ofo:37.70 million, mobike: 34.54 million) And now they are already aiming at entering foreign markets too!

source: QuestMobile, 2017

  1. Why are they succeeding at new digital services?

I believe that you’ve understood how surprisingly China is changing, and now I want you to see why it’s happening in China!

(1) They love digital
At first, landline phone wasn’t popular in the past in China, and now there are a lot of useful and cheap services for smartphones, (Also smartphone isn’t expensive anymore). That’s why Chinese people directly go for smartphone and smartphone has been spreading in an extraordinary way in China!

Source: TechCrunch, 2017

Also, according to a survey of Deloitte, Chinese internet users spend twice time on the internet and social medias as much as American. Moreover, 93% of users are not only receiving also spreading information and contents!

Source: Deloitte, 2016

(2) The Government and IT-Enterprises leading innovations
3 biggest IT-Enterprises in China, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, which are called “BAT”, and their social medias and services are used by most Chinese people
While they are doing business surprisingly well (Their revenue in 2016: $42 billion altogether!), the Chinese government is backing them up with “Great Firewall”.
Because of Great Firewall, generally it’s not possible to access websites prohibited by the government in China. And they are blocking Twitter, Facebook, YouTube…actually a lot of websites and social medias. It means “BAT” and other Chinese companies can protect their users from foreign competitors, so their services have become standard and infrastructure in China!

Also, the major applications are integrated with other services, so users can do a lot of things with one application. (Below examples, it’s an account of my Chinese friend!)

(1) WeChat (Social media produced by Tencent)

As you see, there a lot of functions! For example, you can look for shared bikes, making a reservation of tickets, hotels, etc, and even transfer money to other users! (For just showing the functions, my friend gave me about 1 cent, how generous!)

(2) Alipay (E-payment application produced by Alibaba)

You see a lot of functions on Alipay as well!

Thanks to these applications, one of my Chinese friends living in Paris told me that she didn’t have to use cash at all when she went back to China and now she can enjoy shopping at some stores in Paris with her smartphone as well as in China!

I believe you’ve now seen how fast China is changing and how far they are going.
In fact, they aren’t taking the advantage of “super new technologies”, but they profitably combine technologies to generate new services! Moreover, their services are steadily spreading all over the world, so let’s keep watching on how this country will surprise us next!

About the author



Japanese living in France