China's Mobile payments market to be worth USD 80 billion by 2015; largest in the world

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The Chinese mobile payment market is virtually doubling in size every year and is expected to be worth more than US$80 billion with 441 million active users by 2015, according to the latest report from Kapronasia. China has already overtaken the US as the largest smartphone market in the world; the number of mobile payment users will dwarf other markets worldwide.

Kapronasia’s latest report “Mobile Payments in China” thoroughly assesses the current mobile payments business models, analyzes the market environment, and identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the industry. This 2012 report is unprecedented in both breadth and depth of its analysis of the Chinese business environment in relation to mobile phone payments. The Chinese mobile payments industry has made significant advances in 2011 and will continue to grow even faster over the next four years.

Some of the key findings in the report include:

  • The mobile payment market was estimated to be worth US$7.6 billion at end 2011, rising to US$84 billion by the end of 2015 – roughly doubling in size every year
  • Mobile payment users reached 218 million at end 2011 and will grow to 441 million users by the end of 2015.
  • Though China surpassed the U.S. as the biggest smart mobile phone market worldwide, the penetration of smart phones is still low: less than 10% of the total 900 million mobile phone users, leaving tremendous scale for growth in terms of more advanced phones and services.
  • There is expected to be some slowdown in the Chinese growth rates in 2012 as businesses wait for China to finalise new standards and regulations covering the mobile payments market.
  • However, technology standards in the mobile payments industry may not be as important as thought before. The most important thing for main players to consider is to develop killer applications with a good user experience in order to acquire and retain customers, rather than to debate the best standard.

“2012 will prove to be a crucial year for the mobile payments industry as Chinese authorities establish final technology standards,” said Zennon Kapron, managing director of Kapronasia. “Firms must continue to push for innovation in both technology and business models in order to stay competitive in this rapidly growing market.”

Offering a relatively cheap and certainly more convenient method of making payments than traditional cash or card methods, payments made through the mobile phone promise to change the way we pay for goods and services and are a rapidly growing area of the global financial industry.

The report was discussed in detail during Kapronasia’s oversubscribed webinar on April 25th. A full recording of the webinar will be available on

For the latest analyses on financial technology developments in China, subscribe to Kaproasia's blog on this site.

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