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China set to embrace cashless society

By Rich Zhu (Shanghai Daily)

08:18, January 18, 2013

CHINA is set to follow Asia-Pacific countries to embrace a cashless society as it taps a boom in e-commerce and electronic payments, with mobile payments likely to soar 52.7 percent annually in 2013, a research firm said yesterday.

Electronic payments are forecast to hit US$31.4 billion this year after growing 20 percent annually for the past four years. However, mobile payments are likely to expand even faster to US$17 billion in 2013, Capgemini, a France-based research firm said yesterday.

The Asia-Pacific is expected to benefit from the technological innovation and increasing demand for alternative payment channels.

"The Asia-Pacific, with a vast population, is going to be one of the key markets for growth. Japan, South Korea and Australia have already embraced a cashless society while China, India, Malaysia and Singapore will follow suit," said Capgemini.

On the Chinese mainland, Shanghai leads the third-party payment sector. By the end of last year, the city hosted 51 third-party payment firms, or more than a quarter of the 197 firms nationwide, the Shanghai Financial Services Office said.

In January, the national regulator granted 26 new licenses for e-payment companies, and six of them are from Shanghai.

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