Mobile payments to surge in China

27 October 2011

BEIJING: The mobile payments market is set to rapidly increase in size in China, almost doubling in value during the coming two years, a new forecast has predicted.

Analysys International, the research firm, reported that the domestic mobile payments industry was worth RMB2.9bn ($456m) in 2010.

This total is pegged to hit RMB5.2bn in 2011 according to the company's figures, in which time 212m people are expected to complete transactions using wireless devices.

Looking further ahead, Analysys International estimated that expenditure rates would improve by 134.4%, to RMB12.3bn, over the course of 2012 as a whole.

The sector's pace of acceleration is then anticipated to slow somewhat, to 91.4%, in 2013, when the revenues generated through this route are due to stand at RMB23.5bn.

Among the factors encouraging the overall positive trend are rising consumer uptake of the mobile web and the roll out of near field communications tools in bricks and mortar stores.

Similarly, favourable government policies stimulating the private and public sectors to assist in the advancement of the telecoms infrastructure should make a significant contribution.

Companies including Union Pay, the banking card group, and China Mobile, the network provider, are also expanding their capabilities in this area.

Elsewhere, the growing number of 3G subscribers may play an equally supportive part, having reached 102m by the end of August 2011.

China Mobile, the country's biggest wireless network, boasted 43.2m users with 3G handsets on this date, although this represented less than 10% of its entire customer base.

However, China Mobile also revealed this week that it has 10m iPhone customers, despite the fact it does not have official rights to sell the device.

China Unicom, the only authorised carrier for the iPhone in the world's most populous nation, currently has 30.2m subscribers to its 3G platform. China Telecom, the third largest player, is on 28.6m.

Some obstacles hampering the development of mcommerce are unsatisfactory user experience, concerns about data security and competition between telcos and banks to take the lead role, Analysys International added.

Data sourced from Analysys International; additional content by Warc staff