Asia is a hotbed of competition for mobile payment providers, with different countries at different stages of development in the transition from cash to modern digital alternatives. But what is mobile payment used for in these markets, and where do the biggest opportunities lie? A recent survey has gained some fascinating insights into these questions.
Of the six countries – China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia – China and India are leading the way in mobile payment penetration, and their markets are dominated by local payment app giants Alipay and Paytm respectively.
Other countries, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, are still largely cash-based markets (with 56.0% and 54.3% of consumers regularly using cash over any other payment method). They could thus provide the biggest opportunities for mobile payment apps, due to a lack of other mainstream digital payment alternatives.
We found that the most popular uses for mobile payment are to pay bills (e.g. phone and internet, utilities) and to buy food and drinks in bars and restaurants. Even in countries with lower uptake of mobile payment in general, these are still important drivers of mobile transactions, suggesting that the lower uptake may be due to lack of infrastructure rather than lack of interest. Companies able to build this infrastructure, therefore, could gain access to large and willing markets.
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