China’s Mobile Payment Revolution Is Going to Africa
With the launch of Apple Pay in mainland China on Feb. 18, Apple has become the first foreign player to secure a place at the table for China’s enormous mobile payment market. The company will be battling for market share with e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Wallet, which dominate China’s mobile payment arena.
By the end of last year, a staggering 358 million Chinese were using mobile phones to purchase goods and services, according to research from the China Internet Network Information Center. Outside of China, financial institutions are eagerly looking for ways to build entire ecosystems around their users, following the success of digital leaders like Tencent and Alibaba, Beijing-based managing director of Accenture Albert Chan told Bloomberg.
Africa’s largest lender by assets, Standard Bank, has opted for a more direct route: joining forces with WeChat to secure a piece of Africa’s growing mobile payment market. The Standard Bank-backed WeChat Wallet was launched in November 2015 in the continent’s most industrialized nation, South Africa, and gives users access to a variety of the Chinese version’s most popular offerings, including peer-to-peer money transfers and in-app payments for taxis and other services.