China takes to mcommerce

12 October 2011

BEIJING: Mobile commerce sales in China will rise rapidly over the coming two years, according to a new forecast.

Minsheng Securities, the financial services group, and iResearch, the insights provider, predicted that transactions carried out through mobile phones would be worth a combined RMB11.4bn ($1.8bn; €1.3bn; £1.1bn) in 2011.

Such a total is a significant increase from the RMB2.3bn registered in 2010, RMB530m in 2009 and RMB150m in 2008. Looking forward, the value of mcommerce should reach RMB35.8bn in 2012.

Similarly, the number of consumers making any form of payment using a mobile phone is also set to increase from 150m in 2010 to 230m in 2011 and 320m in 2012.

Within this total, the proportion of shoppers purchasing items via m-commerce is anticipated to hit 250m in 2012, compared with 143m in 2011 and 74m in 2010.

Official figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published last month stated 940m people in China had a mobile phone, but only 94.1m owned 3G handsets.

Song Ming, from the China Mobile Research Institute - a unit of China Mobile, the country's biggest network provider with 628m subscribers in August - argued growing wireless internet and smartphone penetration made mcommerce an "inevitable trend".

"It is also becoming an arena for telecom, internet and credit card giants, as mobile payment is renovating the entire payment system," Song told the China Daily.

The Minsheng Securities and iResearch analysis estimated 52m smartphones could be shipped in China this year, an amount due to climb by an additional 50% next year.

Hu Yanping, director of the Data Center of China Internet, suggested the fact many consumers will deploy their phones as a primary means of going online is likely to drive positive trends in the market.

"When mobile phones become the center of the internet, or the first choice for users to access online, mobile payment[s] would be logical," Hu said. "The day is near."

However, Tang Bin, CEO of Yeepay, an electronic payments group, warned major banks have not moved quickly enough on their own or to partner with technology companies.

"The mobile payment concept was introduced to China 12 years ago but, after all these years, there is still much talk but little action," said Tang.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff