China's Alipay and WeChat Pay: Reaching Rural Users

Analyzing the two main mobile payment providers and their potential to expand beyond the cities

Today, the Alipay and WeChat Pay mobile wallets, which link users’ bank cards to a smartphone application, each have hundreds of millions of active users; combined they hold 92% of market share (most users have both wallets). Chinese cities offer a glimpse of a truly cashless future, where people's relationship to financial services is changing forever. However, this is only part of the story. Around 13% of the world’s population, or about half of all Chinese, live in rural areas, where these services have not penetrated to the degree that they have in cities. 

This Brief explores the emergence of China's Alipay and WeChat Pay, their similarities and differences, and the effects these elements may have on the way they compete in the rural arena. 

About this Publication

By Aveni, T. , Roest, J.