Source: Wall Street Journal

“After gaining a beachhead as a means to buy things online, mobile payments moved on to store purchases and are fast becoming the way many people in China pay for just about everything….Behind the trend are internet titans Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., which are elbowing aside banks to take a growing role in daily commerce. Their success offers a glimpse of a future where technology firms drive innovations in finance just as they have in retailing, autos and the media. Though the U.S. saw $112 billion of mobile payments, by a Forrester Research estimate, such payments in China totaled $9 trillion, according to iResearch Consulting Group, a Chinese firm. For Alibaba and Tencent, the payoff isn’t just the transaction fees they make from merchants, typically 0.6%. It’s also the consumer data collected, which can transform their apps into marketing platforms for an expanding array of services, from bike sharing to travel….Many Americans don’t see the need for mobile payments, since their plastic cards and cash are welcomed.”

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