[Mp3] A life without cash in China

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Why is Thomas from Germany celebrating with so much enthusiasm? Like many foreigners in China, he is enjoying the convenience of a “life without cash.”

 

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Over the past five years, China has embraced a life online. Some expats here in China, as well as Chinese themselves, have dubbed the phenomenon “China’s four new great internet innovations.” Same as the four old inventions, it is their new technology that transforms people’s lives.

 

One of these four and the one that appears to be floating Thomas’s boat is mobile payment, in which China is now leading the world in scale, scope, convenience and coverage. So pervasive is the trend that robbers would be hard-pressed to find any cash to steal from in modern Chinese stores.

 

Consider a normal day for someone living in China, you wake up in the morning, go and buy breakfast on the street and pay by scanning with your smartphone. In the subway station, you scan your smartphone to purchase your ticket. If after getting off the train, you find there is not enough time to walk to the office, you scan the code for a shared bicycle – aka “ofo” bicycle – and ride to work in minutes. Time for lunch, you and your coworkers find a good restaurant nearby by using a smartphone-based app that allows for group purchases. After lunch, you go to the nearby supermarket to buy some bottled water, maybe a magazine from a kiosk too,all paid for with your smartphone. You can also go shopping online during your break. With a bit of luck you will get it by the time you arrive home. When you are tired by the end of the day, you can simply use an app to order food delivery. The delivery cost is about a dollar and the food will be at your door in just thirty minutes. The smartphone can handle payments for taxis, utilities and even hospital bills. And savvy street performers will display a sign with a QR code so as not to miss out on any tips.

 

This is a glimpse into the life of most Chinese, allowing you to bid farewell to the wallet and bank cards. Meanwhile, if you run out of battery charge, no worries! Just plug it in to a shared charging point. These developments are encouraged by the Chinese government, under its “internet-plus” strategy.

 

Stimulated by an online economy, traditional Chinese businesses are also growing fast and creating more employment opportunities. While online commerce is booming with retail sales already accounting for one-third of the national total, the employment in the internet industry has reached a staggering number of 16.772 million. The logistics industry has developed even faster, now accounting for 6.5 percent of China’s employment with 50.12 million employees. And the life of Chinese people has changed since they are living life at their fingertips.

 

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