In 2016, China Mobile settlement through Alipay and WeChat Pay reached $ 2.9 trillion. This is a 20-fold increase over four years, exceeding the originally estimated $2 trillion.
The report of the UN’s Better Than Cash Alliance, “The growth of the Chinese social network, the e-commerce platform and the digital payment ecosystem – the implications for other countries,” released last Thursday, predicted that the change from cash to the digital settlement will have a big impact on the public.
Savings and investments also predicted a change. For example, platforms like Alibaba’s Yu’e Bao (Money Market Fund (MMF)) are driving investment through a variety of financial products. The low-income group invests in the money remaining in the digital account and in the long run, increases the savings. During the three years from 2013 to 2016, Yu’e Bao has grown in size to $117 billion and has reached 152 million customers.
In addition, digital finance shows that the use of small business loans is dramatically increasing. As of September 2016, 760 billion yuan ($110 million) was loaned to 4.11 million SMEs and entrepreneurs in only one place in Ant Financial (Alipay) in Alibaba.
The report also says that Alipay and WeChat are out of China and are investing in major fintech settlement operators and expanding their reach. Alipay and WeChat are targeting especially in countries where there are many smartphone users and good cooperation between the private and the public sector.
Some candidate countries were South Africa, India and Indonesia. South Africa accounts for 78% of all Internet traffic on mobile, one of the highest rates in the world. However, only 15% of South Africa’s population (as of 2016) is currently purchasing goods on the mobile.
The South American market has the necessary infrastructure to build a payment ecosystem similar to China. 59% of South Americans are using social media and 52% are connecting to this social media via mobile phones. However, the digital payment market is still small, and there are no settlement providers that are connecting their services to these platforms.
India is one of the strong candidates. Alibaba Ant Financial and Tencent are in this market. In particular, Ant Financial has invested not only $900 million in Paytm, but also technology transfer is under way. As a result, Paytm has increased from 5 million to about 200 million users in a few years.
Indonesia is the fastest growing country in the world in 2016. The growth rate between January 2016 and January 2017 was 155%. This growth was largely due to the launch of mobile payment products launched by BBM Pay in 2015. BBM has more than 55 million users in Indonesia and is growing steadily.
Meanwhile, the report predicts that by 2025, GDP in developing countries will rise by 6 percent ($ 3.7 trillion) and create 95 million new jobs.
“Social networks and e-commerce platforms are growing in all countries,” says Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Better Than Cash Alliance’s managing director. “The digital payment market in China is thriving through these channels and is driving the economic activities of millions of people.”