International brands need to look past the hype surrounding China's cashless revolution and consider what it means in terms of consumer expectation, according to a China marketing expert.

The future of payments is the topic of the August issue of Admap, now available.

The idea of using cash is increasingly odd in China, which has leapfrogged credit and debit cards to embrace mobile payments. In major cities, many stores simply won’t accept hard currency anymore. A recent Ipsos survey found 84% of people were “comfortable” going out with no cash,  only their phones.

In China’s cashless culture – a barometer for brands, Jerry Clode, founder of The Solution, points out that this trend is not because of a love of technology, per se.

“Most younger Chinese citizens do not see mobile payments as one-dimensional or simply a form of transaction,” he observes.

“Instead, they expect that payment will lead to further social, information and monetary benefits – a fundamentally different mental starting point to consumers in other markets.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in attitudes towards data acquisition and privacy, which differ markedly from those in the West.

Most Chinese consumers, says Clode, “believe that consistent use of mobile payments means that brands and content providers will better understand their needs and deliver a stronger level of personalisation”.

And not just personalisation, but seamless living and “time maximisation”: a popular feature in both WeChat Pay and Alipay allows diners to pre-pay and have their food served immediately when they arrive at a restaurant.

The enthusiasm for mobile payments, Clode continues, is seen as a way to make better decisions and discover new experiences.

“Unlike Western economies, where ideas about consumption and lifestyle are passed on from the previous generation, younger Chinese consumers are essentially ‘learning for themselves’,” he says.

“Without meaningful familiarity and knowledge from their parents, Chinese shoppers are actively looking for suggestions and indications by brands on how ‘how to live a modern life’.”

This issue of Admap on the future of payments features articles by thought leaders from across the globe. WARC subscribers can access a deck which summarises the expert advice from contributors and key considerations on the topic.

Sourced from Admap