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ITB Berlin Convention: Is China setting the example for online payment?

The average Chinese user spends seven hours a day in mobile wallet apps such as WeChat and Alipay. They serve as much more than mobile wallets: they include to-do lists, tickets, travel reservations – and all kinds of information on personal preferences, daily travel, and habits.

Jörg Möller, Managing Director of the online payment provider Wirecard, admitted today at eTravel World, part of the ITB Convention, that this data is also being used for state surveillance of its citizens. “We don’t want that in Western Europe,” Möller conceded, “but this will be the future, that mobile wallets in apps become their own platforms.”

Today, online payment systems are still mostly used in the Asian region. China leads in a global comparison on the use of mobile wallets, followed by England and Japan – although the Kenyan money transfer service M-Pesa was introduced as the very first mobile wallet on the Africa continent.

Using the aviation industry as an example, however, Möller showed that mobile wallets are already in second place worldwide behind credit cards as a payment method. He predicted continued positive development for online payment systems if all fees for such transactions are eliminated within about ten years.

Katharina Wilhelm


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