BEIJING: Mobile commerce sales are set to rise rapidly in China going forward, as the user base expands and new technologies facilitate market growth, a study has argued.

According to iResearch, the insights group, the mobile payments category - including fund transfers and purchases of goods and services - reached a value of RMB48.1bn ($7.6bn) in 2011.

This compared with RMB19.3bn in 2010. Looking ahead, iResearch predicted that RMB121bn would be spent in the same way during 2012, then hitting RMB218.6bn in 2013.

One key driver behind such trends will be an expanding user base, as the number of people completing such transactions increases from 101.7m in 2010 to 190.8m in 2011.

Moreover, totals here should continue to rise, standing at 307.8m in 2012 and 480.6m in 2013.

Alongside the growing popularity of mobile commerce, the wider availability of 3G networks and WiFi will offer improved access to the internet via wireless handsets, the analysis suggested.

Elsewhere, iResearch revealed that ecommerce sales through mobile devices rose by an estimated 400% year on year during the opening three quarters of 2011.

As well as stronger marketing efforts among firms active in this space, the roll out of related apps and the formation of partnerships between payment providers and retailers should enhance this process.

Elsewhere, iResearch anticipated that shoppers will also "demand more convenient payment methods", like near field communications systems allowing contactless transactions in stores.

China UnionPay is one company making moves in this area, as are the country's three main wireless networks: China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

"Their services and products have been greatly promoted in the places with high volume customer traffic and intensive demand for convenient payment options, such as public transport, convenience stores and supermarkets," iResearch's study said.

"However, market scale is relatively small owing to the difficulties in formulating a unified technical standard and high cost ... Once these problems have been solved, proximity payment will have a huge growth potential."

Data sourced from iResearch; additional content by Warc staff