Payments on messaging and e-commerce platforms set to increase China’s GDP by $236 billion by 2025, unlocking new economic opportunities for people and small businesses. A new UN study reveals that Alipay and WeChat Pay enabled US$2.9 trillion in Chinese digital payments in 2016, representing a 20-fold increase in the past four years. The data shows that digital payments, using existing platforms and networks, provide access to a wider range of digital financial services, expanding financial inclusion and economic opportunity throughout China and neighbouring countries.
The new report by the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance, Social Networks, E-Commerce Platforms and the Growth of Digital Payment Ecosystems in China – What It Means for Other Countries, contains key lessons to help other countries include more people in the economy by transitioning from cash to digital payments. This shift could increase GDP across developing economies by 6 percent by 2025, adding US$3.7 trillion and 95 million jobs, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report.
“Social networks and e-commerce platforms are growing in every economy, whether large or small,” says Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director at the Better Than Cash Alliance. “In China, digital payments are thriving from these channels, bringing millions of people into the economy. This matters because we know that when people – especially women – gain access to financial services, they are able to save, build assets, weather financial shocks, and have a better chance to improve their lives.”
“Widening access to financial services has always been at the heart of Ant Financials mission and we are proud to have empowered more people to save, invest and gain access to capital. There is a quiet revolution underway and we know, firsthand, that our services are making a real difference to hundreds of millions of consumers. But, as this groundbreaking UN report highlights, this revolution is only just beginning. We see tremendous potential to bring many more people into the financial system, in China and markets around the world,” says Eric Jing, CEO of Ant Financial Services Group, which operates Alipay.