China’s e-commerce sphere is highly influential, making up a large part of the retail sector. With over 1.4 billion residents, around 782 million have adopted online shopping, nearly 80% of the tech-savvy population. Yet, the online payment scene deviates from global standards, with credit cards being a minor transaction method.

Digital wallets largely dominate, holding a 65% market share. They are followed by credit and debit cards at 18%, and bank transfers at 10%. The remaining segments include cash and other minor payment methods, comprising 4% and 3% respectively ​2​. In 2023, common online payment types include services like PayPal and Amazon Pay, alongside credit cards, highlighting the shift towards digital payment methods over traditional card payments 3​.

The data accentuates the prominence of mobile payment solutions. Around 18.9% of online shoppers prefer domestic third-party online payment, 16.6% favor online bank payments, and 15.5% choose offline credit card payments​4​. China’s Payments Market is set for growth, projected to rise from USD 37.15 trillion in 2023 to USD 55.58 trillion by 2028. This upward trend is fueled by the move towards a cashless society, a robust e-commerce market, and the widespread adoption of mobile and online payments​5​.


Payment by card in China

In China, the card payments market saw consistent growth recently, despite challenges from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. As of 2023, an 11% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is expected ​1​. In 2021, the market rebounded strongly with a 16.6% growth rate. Total card payments hit CNY 136 trillion ($19.7 trillion) 2​. UnionPay remains the dominant player for card payments, while Visa and Mastercard hold smaller market shares. In 2022, credit card spending reached 8.69 trillion yuan in total value. However, credit card usage dipped due to rising mobile payments popularity ​4​. Despite mobile payment competition, card payments growth indicates ongoing adoption among some consumers.

Local actors: UnionPay,

UnionPay logoΒ 


Payment by bank transfer

While mobile payments dominate the market, bank transfers, including instant payments, are gaining traction. Online consumers appreciate the speed, security, and convenience offered by instant bank transfers. Leading financial institutions and fintech companies continually enhance their platforms for seamless bank transfers. This aligns with the government’s push towards a cashless society.

The local schemes facilitating bank transfers are growing in number and capability, providing a solid infrastructure for online transactions. As the regulatory framework evolves, it’s expected that instant payments and bank transfers will play a significant role in China’s e-commerce scene, particularly with the rise of cross-border online shopping.

Local actors: ICBC, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, AB China, CMB, CMBC, PSBC, SPDB

ICBC logoΒ Β BankofChina logoΒ  CCB logoΒ Β ABChina logoΒ  CMB logo Β CMBC logo Β PSBC logoΒ  SPDB logo


Payment by installment and BNPL

In 2023, China’s Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) market is thriving with a 17.0% annual growth, hitting $119.6 billion ​1​​2​. This growth signals a medium to long-term trend, boasting a promising outlook with a projected 10.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2023 to 2028 ​2​. The Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the BNPL sector is on the rise too, anticipated to jump from $102.3 billion in 2022 to $196.9 billion by 2028 2​.

Key internet players like Ant Group, JD Finance, and Tencent are leading the BNPL sector in China​3​. They are riding the wave of consumer adoption as more individuals seek flexible payment alternatives, especially in the flourishing e-commerce landscape.

In 2022, BNPL transactions made up 4% of all e-commerce transaction value in China, indicating a growing preference for this payment method​3​. The expansion of e-commerce is a significant driver for BNPL’s ongoing growth, showing the sector’s resilience and adaptability amid economic challenges​2​.

Now, with more BNPL options like Alipay, Chinese consumers find it easier to make purchases from global brands​4​. The integration of BNPL in China’s retail sector provides flexible payment options for consumers and better cash flow for merchants.

Local actors: Huabei by Alipay, WeChat Pay, Lexin

HuaweiPay Logo Β WeChat logo Β Lexin logo


Payment by digital wallet and X-Pay

In 2023, the e-wallet market in China continues to grow, propelled by the increasing adoption of digital payments. The total transaction value in China’s digital payments market is projected to hit $3.639 trillion. This projection is for the period from 2023 to 2027, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.77% ​1​. E-wallet payments made up 68.5% of online transaction values in the APAC region in 2021. This trend was largely driven by China. In China, e-wallet payments constituted nearly 83% of e-commerce transaction value ​2​.

E-wallets facilitate transactions like utility payments, online shopping, and money transfers, offering convenience, security, and speed​4​. The market is estimated to grow by $163.43 billion from 2023 to 2027, with a CAGR of 26.41%​5​.

Local actors: Alipay, QQ, WeChatPay, HuaweiPay, TNG, Meituan Pay, MiPay, UnionPay, JDBank, JDFinance

Alipay LogoΒ Β QQ logoΒ Β WeChat logoΒ Β HuaweiPay LogoΒ Β TNG logoΒ Β MeituanPay logoΒ Β MiPay logoΒ Β UnionPay logo Β JDFinance logo Β K-KBank logo


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