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Chinese are increasingly relying on mobile phones to pay for bills, ride shared bikes and make medical appointments, a new survey has found.
In 2017, 82 percent of users of Alipay, the country"s largest third-party payment tool, had adopted digital wallet services when they dined out, ran errands or made donations, according to figures from Alipay parent Ant Financial released on Wednesday.
A total of 11 provinces saw the proportion of mobile payment exceed 90 percent, up from just one province recorded in the previous year. Southwest China"s Guizhou province and North China"s Shanxi province shared the top seats, with a 92 percent mobile payment rate.
Such a trend is evident from the dwindling need for physical wallets. The number of searches for "wallet" dropped for the first time in three years across Alibaba Group"s multiple shopping sites, the company noted.
One reason driving such exponential growth is the proliferation of a merchant-version QR code, which customers can scan and be redirected to online payment. Ant Financial said over 40 million mom-and-pop stores have enabled mobile transactions by embracing such codes.
Mobile payment has also penetrated into public utilities and civic affairs. Public transportation services in some 30 cities now allow citizens to pay for their rides with phones, while over 200 million people can register marriage licenses and settle traffic fines, among 100 types of services, with a few taps on their devices.
A credit-rating system developed by Alipay has exempted deposits of all sorts with a combined value of over 40 billion yuan last year.
And mobile payment is extending its tentacles into overseas markets. In 2017, tens of thousands of foreign merchants across 36 countries and regions accepted Alipay as a payment option, with the total transaction number tripling year-on-year.