The digital payment market in SEA vs China

The digital payment market in SEA vs China. Source: Shutterstock

APAC’s appetite for digital payments increasing

WHEN you see the growing number of mobile wallets and cashless payment solutions available in Asia, you’ll get the feeling that the region is growing increasingly comfortable with mobile payments.

A recent report by GlobalData supports this notion, and suggests that the biggest transformation is coming about in India.

“As the Indian government launched a demonetization program, consumers were forced to use electronic payments, though cash did not completely disappear. As a result, all types of retailers understood the need to offer cashless payment methods to remain competitive,” said the company’s Lead Analyst for Digital Retail Andreas Olah.

Paytm emerged as a popular digital wallet in India with over 200 million users.

It can be used for payments across all major stores, online retailers, utility bills, and metro cards, as well as auto rickshaws and food stalls.

The wallet’s balance can be topped up via credit or debit cards, as well as through online bank transfers. It can also be integrated with most point of sales (PoS) solutions.

However, it’s not just India that is going cashless. Other countries too are taking big steps to go digital.

For example in China, many consumers prefer to use the all-round app WeChat for payments. It offers in-app and web based payments, as well as options for splitting bills and paying friends and family members without any hassle.

China is also increasingly becoming a fan of AliPay, the country’s most flexible mobile payments wallet. The app has built strong partnerships within China and in other parts of the APAC, making it easy for users to pay with the app.

The app is so popular with Chinese residents that other countries are starting to accept payment via AliPay in order to attract tourists.

In Boston, for example, visitors can use the app to check in at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel or book a Boston Duck Tour. At Copley Place, they can pick up baubles from APM Monaco or handbags from Bottega Veneta. College students from abroad can use the apps to buy groceries at Ming’s Supermarkets, snacks from Beard Papa’s, or a manicure at Tinailery.

Alipay is also partnering with Merlin Entertainment to help Chinese visitors use the app across all of Merlin’s London attractions.

Merlin Entertainment is a British-based travel company which owns some of the most popular attractions in London such as the Coca-Cola London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, the London Eye River Cruise and more.

“Retailers are recognizing the need to accept the payment types that customers prefer if they do not want to lose out on business. Adoption rates are likely to rise for digital wallets, as well as for contactless card-based payments as they are becoming the standard in many countries,” concluded Olah.