Alipay Shows Off Mobile Payments in the Lunar New Year

February 14, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

By now, it wasn’t exactly a closely-guarded secret that the Chinese have a very deep connection to mobile payments. Increasingly, these tools are a part of the landscape, and when the Chinese travel, it’s no different. The folks at Ant Financial—who brought us the Alipay mobile payments platform—dropped word about what it saw during the Lunar New Year celebrations, a week of parties and travel for many. With Alipay present in over 40 separate markets, it could deliver a complete picture of mobile payments use worldwide.

The Alipay study of its use over the Lunar New Year holiday period came with plenty of noteworthy points. One, the top-tier cities were actually comparatively under-represented when it came to Alipay use. Travelers whose starting points were third- or fourth-tier cities made more purchases than those from places like Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai.

Leading the way were middle-aged travelers, and both groups of them: those born between 1960 and 1969, and those born between 1970 and 1979. The older group increased its Alipay use an average of 230 percent, while the younger group bolstered its spending 250 percent over the same time last year.

These studies are reinforced by earlier studies released from Nielsen and Alipay just last month, which revealed how Alipay is a major part of travel, and it’s being taken up by the older set just as much as the younger set.

It’s hardly anything new to find that Chinese travelers are into mobile payments. We’ve been hearing that drumbeat out of Alipay for months, even years now. What’s especially noteworthy here, though, is how the middle-aged are taking up the mobile payments banner. We’ve seen a lot about millennials getting in on that action, and some of those second-bracket middle aged actually qualify as millennials themselves by some reports. That so much of Chinese society is in on mobile payments is worth paying attention to for the sheer depth of this society’s conviction on the topic.

It’s a safe bet these figures will hold, and next year, we’ll hear all about new gains in the mobile payments front from Alipay. Whether it’s just travelers looking for convenience or shoppers on the home front, mobile payments have simply too many uses not to get in on this.