State of Chinese Mobile Payments Revealed by New Report from Peak Industry Body


A new report from China’s peak body for the payments and clearing sector has shed light on the state of the Chinese mobile payments sector in 2018.

The “2018 Mobile Payments Users Survey Report” (2018移动支付用户调研报告) released by the Payment and Clearing Association of China (PCAC) analysed a total of 76,671 surveys in a bid to acquire an in-depth understanding of the age structure, income levels and educational attainments of Chinese mobile payments users.

According to the Report the mobile payments user base in China became increasingly male-dominated in 2018, with males accounting for 60.6% of users as compared to a 39.4% share for women.

This compares to males accounting for 52.3% of users in 2017, and females 47.7% of users.

The age structure of mobile payments users in China also appears to have undergone a pivotal shift in just a year-long period, with a sizeable expansion in the share of older users.

In 2017 the vast preponderance of users were under the age of 30, accounting for 80.9% of the total, while users between the ages of 31 – 40 were just 14.4%, those between 41 and 50 just 3.6% and those over 51 years of age a mere 1.0%.

In sharp contrast the 2018 survey found that Chinese mobile payments users under the age of 30 accounted for a much diminished 54% of the total user base, while those between the ages of 31 – 40 a 28% share, those aged between 41 – 50 a 13% share, and those over the age of 51 a 5% share.

The regional distribution of mobile payments activity has also evened out, with a greater percentage of users now found in China’s smaller cities and rural areas.

In 2017 directly governed municipalities (including Shanghai and Beijing) and provincial capitals jointly accounted for over half of all Chinese mobile payments users, with shares of 21.5% and 34.5% respectively.

In 2018 their joint share fell to 43.9%, with directly governed municipalities laying claim to a 15.7% share and provincial capitals a 28.2% share.

Eastern China and northern China accounted for over half of mobile payments users in 2018, with shares of 27.3% and 25.7% respectively, while southern China accounted for 20.1%.

Only 7.1% of Chinese mobile payments users lived in the centre of the country, while just 5.5% reside in the north-west and 9.5% in the south-west.