Mobile payment in China is still growing, especially in rural areas, said Zhu Hong Jun, director of PR Ant Financial Service Group, which operates Alipay, China’s most popular online payment platform.
“You will be surprised to hear that there is the highest penetration rate of mobile payment in rural areas like Tibet and Mongolia even though they are not as developed as big cities like Hangzhou or Shanghai,” Zhu said.
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Ant Financial’s mission is to serve users in rural areas and make financial services more inclusive, especially for people living in the countryside, he said.
“Mobile payment is bridging the gap for rural China. You will find that villages in China are different from 30 years ago,” Zhu said.
The mobile payments market in China has grown to a whopping $16 trillion annually, according to the Financial Times. The market is dominated by Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay.
Zhu said there are three reasons why mobile payment is popular in China.
First, transaction fees are even lower than credit card fees. Second, the market size is huge – China has about 1.3 billion people. And third, Alipay and Ant Financial are ecosystems of Alibaba Group, a Chinese multinational e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology conglomerate that does not pursue profit as its only objective.
“We believe that if we provide better products and a better life, people will use ours [products] and then we can make profit,” Zhu said.
With a mission to “bring the world equal opportunities”, Ant Financial is dedicated to creating an open, shared credit system and financial services platform through technology innovations, and to provide consumers and small businesses with safe and convenient inclusive financial services globally, he said.