China’s Mobile Payment Revolution Is Going to Africa

Standard Bank advertising We Wallet cropped smaller

With the launch of Apple Pay in mainland China on Feb. 18, Apple has become the first foreign player to secure a place at the table for China’s enormous mobile payment market. The company will be battling for market share with e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Wallet, which dominate China’s mobile payment arena.

Billboard in Cape Town’s CBD

By the end of last year, a staggering 358 million Chinese were using mobile phones to purchase goods and services, according to research from the China Internet Network Information Center. Outside of China, financial institutions are eagerly looking for ways to build entire ecosystems around their users, following the success of digital leaders like Tencent and Alibaba, Beijing-based managing director of Accenture Albert Chan told Bloomberg.

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Could WeChat become the only app that African internet users need?

WeChat

As technology hubs from Silicon Valley to Bangalore work hard at devising digital approaches to finance that could alter the global banking landscape, mobile banking penetration in China has already exceeded 390 million people. And for Chinese-owned Tencent Holdings, the world’s fifth largestInternet company, China’s 1.3 billion-strong market is just the beginning. The tech giant’s best-known social network, WeChat, is fast gaining traction in Africa, and mobile banking is one area in which its influence is spreading.

 

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FOCAC: Beyond the Numbers

December’s Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has been and gone, and the eagerly-awaited list of numbers has been released, digested, and analysed. China’s commitment of US$60 billion in financing for development across Africa is triple the amount pledged at the last summit three years ago, according to several mainstream media reports. Other calculations put this figure at closer to a 50%  increase in financial commitment. And, while it is this magic number that has since hogged the limelight, China’s important second policy toward Africa was released too.

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Reporting FOCAC6 – A Turning Point for Africa-China Engagement

Wits‘ 12 November roundtable, Reporting FOCAC6 – A Turning Point for Africa-China Engagement, provided a variety of journalists, experts, and other attendees with plenty of food for thought on China-Africa relations, both at the diplomatic level and on the ground, with a focus on producing quality journalism around this expansive subject. CCTV Africa‘s short video report of the event forms the first of a series of posts I’ll be adding on the FOCAC summit and its implications for Sino-African relations.