China

Asia Pacific

The Chinese IP market is currently very strong, with further expansion predicted over the coming years to bring it to full maturity. Unsurprisingly, given China’s considerable population, a huge number of IP transactions are made (more than 16 billion in 2019). Even with current exceptional volumes, the future of IP is promising, with a predicted five year CAGR of 18.8%.

China’s IP scheme — Internet Banking Payment System (IBPS) — was launched in 2010 by the People’s Bank of China (PBC). It offers two types of IP (single instance and recurring), two initiation methods (bank account or mobile number) and a healthy 290 participants.

IBPS integrates the online banking operations of most of China’s domestic and foreign banks, enabling customers to make online transactions in real time and to access real-time account information. On the bank side, it has direct and indirect participants, all of which are financial institutions. Direct participants must have RMB (Renminbi, the official currency of the People’s Republic of China) reserve accounts with PBC, as well as direct access to the system. Indirect participants connect through partner banks which carry out fund transfers on their behalf. This type of indirect participation encompasses third-party payment companies like Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Timeline

MARKET DEVELOPMENT

ACCEPTANCE
  • Consumers
  • Banks
  • Merchants
  • Billers

TOTAL PARTICIPANTS

>290

Population banking level

7.75

Number of debit, credit and charge cards per adult

311

Index to global average

F

Fully banked

Key statistics

2010

IP launch year

Immediate payments types

Single instance, recurring

Initiation & authorization

Bank account, mobile number

ISO 20022

Message standard

Transactions

16.4b

2019

38.8b

2024f

18.8%

F5 Yr CAGR

87%

% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have used it in the past year

Share of volumes by payments instrument

Transactions

2019
2024

Spend (USD)

2019
2024
  • Paper-based payments
  • Electronic payments
  • Immediate payments

Immediate payments volume and its share in overall NON-PAPER-BASED transactions, 2014-24f

% of total electronic payments transaction volume

Insight

China is an outlier when compared to the other IP markets globally. Some of the historic trends within China, such as extremely high reliance on payment cards, might suggest a slower IP adoption curve. However, China has seen the exact opposite, with very strong IP adoption and volumes forecast to continue to surge well into the future.

One of the main contributing factors to this success is the population’s openness to payments innovation. China has leading mobile wallet adoption rates globally, with 87% of adults having used one in the last year (compared to 35% in 2014). That accelerated adoption speaks to the market’s willingness to embrace technology, especially when it enhances convenience and user experience.

Since IP are integrated into the most popular mobile wallets in China, the number of use cases for IP increases dramatically as consumers can easily adopt the method in their daily transaction flow. As additional integrations are introduced in the marketplace, IP usage will only strengthen and grow in years to come.

ACI’s take

IP has almost become a matter of habit in China, with strong consumer take up driven by mobile wallet partnerships and government initiatives that encouraged banks to get involved.

Despite this, there’s still room to grow and more to be done to bring the Chinese market to maturity and fully establish IP. The expected CAGR over five years is just shy of 20%, with a huge 38.8B IP transactions predicted for the year 2024.

The message this sends to banks is that China has great affinity for IP services, but wants more. Those preparing to enter the market should be reassured that their services will be well-received, well-used and ultimately profitable.

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