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In-Depth Analysis of China's Third-Party Payment Industry: From Data to Insights

In the surging tide of the digital economy, China's third-party payment industry is rapidly evolving, positioning itself as one of the most active markets globally. This article delves into the research report by iResearch, revealing the industry's data dynamics, technological trends, market competition, and future challenges.


Market Size and Growth

According to iResearch, China's third-party payment market has seen significant growth in recent years. For instance, in 2022, the market transaction volume reached 49.07 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9.3%. This growth is attributed to widespread smartphone usage, the booming e-commerce sector, and shifts in consumer payment habits. The market is expected to grow by 14.5% in 2023 and 10.5% in 2024.

Competitive Landscape of Independent Third-Party Payment Platforms

Alipay dominates the mobile payment sector with over 900 million monthly active users, thanks to its early market entry, brand influence, reliance on e-commerce platforms, and extensive service network. UnionPay's Cloud QuickPass, with its integration of multiple payment methods and strong support from UnionPay, ranks second in monthly active users. China Mobile's payment platform, CM Pay, emerges as the third major player, benefiting from China Mobile's fintech company's focus on a core platform-type product that integrates essential applications like mobile points e-commerce, smart travel, party and government fee payments, and Super SIM.

Technological Advancements and Applications

The report highlights that technological innovation is a key driver in the third-party payment industry's growth. For example, QR code-based payment technology has greatly simplified transaction processes. Emerging technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence are being explored to enhance payment security and efficiency. Moreover, with the rollout of 5G technology, the experience and application scenarios of mobile payments are expected to improve further. For instance, Cloud QuickPass's core capabilities include NFC and Token technologies, significantly streamlining the payment process.


Core Application Introductions

  • Alipay: As the world's largest digital payment platform, Alipay leads the payment industry revolution by integrating advanced technologies with diverse business lines. Beyond basic payment functions, Alipay offers financial management, shopping, entertainment services, and a comprehensive payment ecosystem.

  • Cloud QuickPass: Launched by China UnionPay, Cloud QuickPass leverages its dominant position in the unified clearing system to offer diversified payment methods, including QR code and NFC payments, covering banking services and daily consumption scenarios.

  • CM Pay: China Mobile's payment platform offers comprehensive digital life services, including fuelling, travel, and bill payments, and is expanding into new financial services, leveraging its vast user base.


  • BestPay: Developed by China Telecom, this RFID-based small electronic wallet service focuses on payment, credit, financial management, and insurance, providing a full-scene digital life consumption service for "food, housing, travel, education, entertainment, and healthcare."


  • OneConnect Pay: A third-party payment and points consumption product by Ping An Group's Ping An Pay, covering areas like financial management, shopping, convenience services, transfers, repayments, and financial services. It collaborates with e-commerce platforms hosting over 12,000 brands and more than 1,000 merchants.


  • Wo Wallet: Created by Unicom Payment Co., Ltd., this mobile app client is a comprehensive civil payment application and financial information service, integrating life services and internet finance.


Future Outlook

Looking ahead, China's third-party payment industry is expected to maintain its rapid growth. With technological advancements, improved regulatory environments, and further shifts in consumer habits, the industry is poised for more development opportunities. Additionally, as internationalization accelerates, Chinese payment technologies and services are likely to have a greater global impact.


The development of China's third-party payment industry not only reflects the innovation in fintech but also marks the robust growth of China's digital economy. In the future, the industry will continue to seek breakthroughs in technological innovation and market services, contributing to the global fintech sector's development. Contact us to find out more!

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