China Mobile Payment Users 2019

Moving Toward a Cashless Society

Mobile Payments

Download the Full Collection

More than 1 Billion People Worldwide Will Make an In-Store Mobile Payment in 2020

See All

Executive Summary

China is steadily marching toward a cashless society, enabled by Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay. Those two leading payment systems have introduced QR code-backed payments into the daily habits of consumers. Proximity mobile payments are now ubiquitous for purchases in apparel stores to supermarkets to convenience stores.

How many people in China use proximity mobile payments?

Proximity mobile payment users in China grew by 10.0% in 2019 to reach 577.4 million (by far the largest in the world). While 81.1% of smartphone users use proximity mobile payments, penetration is much lower (49.6%) among the overall population, meaning this market still has room for further growth.

What are the leading proximity mobile payment service providers in China?

Alipay, owned by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, and Tencent’s WeChat Pay are the most widely used proximity mobile payment services in China.

Why are proximity mobile payments so popular in China?

Two primary factors have led to consumers in China embracing mobile payments; 1) China is a mobile-first market, meaning most internet users’ first device was a mobile phone; 2) Credit card ownership was low when mobile options Alipay and WeChat Pay were first introduced.

What are the opportunities for more adoption of proximity mobile payments?

Those in China who have lagged in adopting mobile payments include individuals ages 35 and older and those in rural areas, which have more limited access to internet and mobile networks. The challenges to convert those groups to switch to a mobile payment system will require consumer education, product adoption and infrastructure investment.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report features our latest forecast for proximity mobile payment users in China. It also examines what’s driving the proximity mobile payment market, as well as potential opportunities and challenges.

KEY STAT: We estimate that, by the end of 2019, 81.1% of smartphone users in China will be proximity mobile payment users, and yet, that represents less than half of the country’s population.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

4expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Proximity Mobile Payment Users in China
  3. Key Players
  4. Widespread Smartphone Use and Low Credit Card Ownership Spur Adoption
  1. Mobile Payment and Overseas Travelers from China
  2. What’s Next for Digital Payments?
  3. Key Takeaways
  4. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Nishtha Mehta
CollabCentral Consulting
Founder, Executive Facilitator, Corporate Lean Innovation Coach
Interviewed September 26, 2019
Philip Wiggenraad
Head of Research, Retail and Consumer Insights
Interviewed September 19, 2019
Ananth Devarajan
Product Lead, China
Interviewed September 26, 2019
Mike Narodovich
Executive Director
Interviewed September 26, 2019


Man-Chung Cheung


Shanshan Ao
Research Intern
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Jennifer Jhun
Research Director, International and Special Projects
Cindy Liu
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Vincent Yip
Forecasting Analyst