10 Jul What to carry in your pocket in China?
What to carry in my pocket when living in China?
Before you leave the house each day, what do you make sure you have? Phone, keys, wallet… anything else? In China, while there is the same functional need to have something that allows you pay for things, communicate with people, and open your door, the reality is that in many parts of China people leave the house with nothing more than a phone in their pocket. Impossible, you say! What about your cash and credit cards? That train ticket isn’t going to pay for itself, nor is that McDonalds!
While people in China still do have bank cards (salaries are still transferred into employees’ bank accounts), modern-day life has very little functional use for them. WeChat and AliPay are ubiquitous, with almost all shops, supermarkets, and restaurants accepting both to pay electronically. Bank cards are simply linked to your WeChat or AliPay account and, as long as you’ve got money in your bank account, WeChat and AliPay can be used to pay for things through your phone. But how’s it done? Allow us to introduce you to the black and white kaleidoscope matrix that is the QR code, a scannable code that can be used for everything from paying for stuff, signing up for stuff, and adding friends on WeChat…and stuff. You’ll see QR codes in virtually every shop you step foot in in China, on lampposts, billboards, websites and virtually any other place you can think of.
Hailed as one of the 4 great modern Chinese inventions (along with HighSpeed Rail, e-Commerce, and shared bikes), mobile payments have changed the consumer landscape in China. It’s for this reason that increasing numbers of Chinese people now leave the house wallet-less. Who needs cash and bank cards when everything can be done through your phone?