Case Study 5: Cashless Convenience in China—A Survey of Its Development and a Case Study of the Political Economics Behind the Mechanism

  • Tai Wei Lim


Starting with China’s coastal cities with high levels of smartphone connectivity, the cashless revolution gradually swept the country. Its attraction for Chinese consumers is very simple. With a swipe of a code, Chinese consumer can now make payments for just about anything. The scanning process is based mainly on a Quick Response (QR) Code designed by Japan’s Denso Corp in the 1990s for storing more data than the traditional bar code. QR code was adapted by China’s cashless mobile payment systems for electronic transactions. Convenience is also enhanced by the fact that consumers can now make payments on the move. They can pay for acquisitions in advance anywhere in China or clear their loan payments on the move.


Cashless Mobile Alipay 


  1. Abkowitz, Alyssa, “The Cashless Society Has Arrived—Only It’s in China” dated 4 January 2018 in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) [downloaded on 4 January 2018]. Available at
  2. ASEAN Today, “Alibaba Steers the Philippines Towards a Cashless Revolution” dated 12 February 2018 in ASEAN Today [downloaded on 12 February 2018]. Available at
  3. Gordon, Nicholas, “Despite ‘Falling Behind’ Scare Stories HK Is Already Cashless” dated 8 November 2017 in China Daily [downloaded on 8 November 2017]. Available at
  4. Wang, Yue, “China Tightens Regulation Over Mobile Payment Apps—What’s Next for Tencent and Ant Financial?” dated 3 January 2018 in Forbes [downloaded on 3 January 2018]. Available at

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tai Wei Lim
    • 1
  1. 1.Singapore University of Social SciencesSingaporeSingapore

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