Chinese QR codes remain head and shoulders above NFC technology

Chinese QR Codes - Mobile Shopping and Mobile Payments

When it comes to m-commerce and mobile payments, consumers in China prefer quick response codes.

Despite the fact that mobile payments based on NFC technology are present, Chinese QR codes remain most popular. Apple Pay, for example, didn’t make it into the country until 2016. This gave quick response codes lots of extra time to make it into mainstream use.

Mobile payments are commonly used in China, but NFC isn’t the top tech.

Two mobile payments services had been available for quite some time and used QR codes. Tencent launched its WeChat Pay in 2017. Alibaba had already rolled out Alipay back in 2004 for computers, then later brought it to smartphones. Both WeChat Pay and Alipay use Chinese QR codes to complete transactions.

Apple, on the other hand, decided on a mobile wallet based on NFC technology. This tech makes it possible for people to simply tap their devices against a reader instead of scanning a barcode. That said, it also requires people to have NFC enabled smartphones.

When Apple entered into a deal with UnionPay, it decided to skip the popular Chinese QR codes.

Apple teamed up with UnionPay in China when it entered that marketplace. UnionPay already owned QuickPass. That contactless payment technology is comparable to payWave from Visa. The partnership worked if only because they both used NFC technology to power their transactions.

Since then, Apple Pay has managed to grab hold of 90 percent of the contactless mobile payment market. However, while it’s important that it has outshone Samsung Pay, Mi Pay (Xiaomi) and Huawei Pay, the company is far from the leader overall.

The reason is that the contactless market is only a tiny part of mobile payments in China. In fact, NFC technology mobile payments make up less than 10 percent of Chinese smartphone transactions.

Data from last year showed that WeChat Pay and Alipay held a 67 percent share of Chinese mobile payments. The fact is that NFC technology just isn’t commonplace among consumers in the country. For that reason, Chinese QR codes are staying on top. No matter the smartphone, it can handle scanning quick response codes.

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