FEATURE29 January 2018

Spending habits

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Asia Pacific Features Finance Impact Trends

In Japan, consciousness around spending and residual fears of corruption mean consumers are hesitant to move away from physical cash. But that is slowly changing, write Flamingo’s Yuka Uchijima and Chris Illsley.

Paper-crane-yen

Begging in China has gone cashless. The growing trend for e-payments, which resulted in 58.8tn renminbi (US$8.8tn) of mobile payment transactions in 2016, has seemingly made its way to the streets. 

Some of the country’s most needy are now accepting donations via QR codes hung around their necks or, in a nod to more traditional methods, stuck to the side of a tin cup. 

It has been claimed that this is a ruse by local businesses; beggars are paid to encourage people to scan QR codes so their user details can be harvested and sold. However, it is indicative of the rise – and widespread acceptance – of e-payments in China, where the market is dominated by Alipay and WeChat. 

Similarly, in South Korea, LG CNS’s mobile-payment company, Kakao Pay, recently surpassed 10m users, Samsung Pay doubled its active monthly mobile payment users to 6.44m, and the country’s central bank announced it was aiming to be coinless by ...