AliPay, WeChat Processed $3 Trillion in 2016

Chinese consumers sent about $3 trillion in payments through Alibaba and Tencent payment services in 2016.

According to a new report released by the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance, users sent $1.7 trillion in total payments through Alibaba’s Alipay service last year, compared to only $70 billion in 2012; Tencent’s WeChat users sent about $1.2 trillion in 2016, up from $11.6 billion in 2012.

The popularity of mobile payments has been on the rise in China since the launch of these two services, which have consistently grown their marketshare of non-cash retail payments.

The $2.9 trillion noted above can be compared to the $70 billion AliPay processed in 2012, according to the report, as well as the $11.6 billion for Wechat in that year.

In a five-year period (2010-2015), the percentage of digital payments in China—online and, increasingly, mobile—moved from 3.5% to 17% of all retail transactions.

Of course, AliPay and WeChat payments make up the bulk of these—the two services combined own 63% market share for digital payments.

AliPay has a slight lead in payment volume, but not in usership, with 450 million users worldwide, to WeChat’s 800 million.

From the report:

The popularity of WeChat Pay’s growing payments ecosystem, utilizing its existing social network, has been allowing it to rapidly encroach on Alipay’s market share.

Recognizing the inroads that Tencent was making by utilizing chat and social,  Alipay has made a number of modifications to its own product, including incorporating some features that are similar to those available in WeChat.

The full report may be found here.

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Grace Noto is Associate Editor of Bank Innovation. She has an MA from the University of Essex, as well as BA in English and a BA in Journalism from SUNY New Paltz. Prior to joining Bank Innovation in the summer of 2016, she worked on Electronic Products Magazine, an online publication surrounding technology and computer engineering, and has worked for other publications, including the Poughkeepsie Journal. She also writes in her spare time, and really needs more hobbies.

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