Smartphone Payment

Cash Goes Out of Style in China

Chinese shoppers stand near a sale advertisement at a shopping area in Beijing, China, Sunday, July 10, 2016. Chinese government data showed consumer prices in June rose at the slowest pace in six months, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still experiencing weak consumer demand amid a broad downturn. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Smartphones instead of cash: Chinese shoppers in Beijing, China.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    As smartphones become ever-more ubiquitous, the world’s second-biggest economy is at the forefront of the global move towards digital payments.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Despite the rise of smartphones, many Germans still frequently pay with cash, and some stores still don’t even accept credit cards.
    • But perhaps the influence of major trading partner China’s cash-free smartphone payments will take hold once select German retailers take the technology on board.
    • Chains like Saturn, Douglas and Louis Vuitton will soon bear the Chinese fintech gem Alipay’s logo alongside Visa and MasterCard.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Lu Jingyi has cut cash from her life for the most part.

“My smartphone is an all-around tool,” said Lu, a games developer in China’s Shenzhen. “I hardly ever need my wallet.”

Whether at the supermarket, the pharmacy, or the cinema – bills hardly ever change hands. Lu simply pulls out her smartphone, scans a code and transfers the money digitally.

Welcome to the future of payment. While in Germany the pros and cons of cash are still being discussed, in China’s Pearl River Delta it’s been out of fashion for some time.

With its smattering of fishing villages, this area was chosen over 30 years ago as the country’s first special economic zone. Now it drives the world’s second biggest economy.

At its heart lies Shenzhen, which has since ballooned to a 10-million-strong metropolis. It’s home to China’s tech heavyweights including Tencent, Huawei and ZTE.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.