eCommerce in Asia: be Streamlined, be Mobile - Unlimint
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eCommerce in Asia: be Streamlined, be Mobile

November 18, 2019 4 min read

With the dramatic success of Singles Day, we take a closer look at the world of eCommerce in Asia. And why businesses should take note.

Unlimint team
Your payment experts

With Singles Day in the proverbial rear-view mirror, now is an ideal opportunity for us to take a closer look at the worlds of retail, fashion, digital marketplaces and, to put it broadly – eCommerce types in Asia.

Compared to any other region of the world, the Asian continent is the most ‘plugged in’ in terms of retail, with online and cardless transactions trumping any other method.

That’s according to the Adobe analytics team, which argues that payments during the event made up 90% of all transactions over the 24 hours. That makes sense for the event of a primarily digital sale though.

In China, for example, there are over 800 million mobile users, with the majority of the same using their phones for regular transactions.

The fact is that anyone looking for the most popular payment methods in China, or Asia more broadly, will find that the biggest contenders are digital – overtaking conventional card and cash payments by a big margin.

It’s also thanks to this rise in digital payments that spending on the continent has increased annually while providing some much-needed insight into consumer activity as a whole.

So what are the most popular payment solutions out there if not cash and card? It boils down to three big names.

AliPay – 1.2 billion active users

Going by the number of users, and annual growth, AliPay is the leader when it comes to digital payments by a large margin.

Being part of Ant Financial / Alibaba, the payment solution is the single most popular payments solution in Asia.

In half a year, its total number of users increased by 20%, reaching a staggering 1.2 billion by October this year.

A part of its success is attributable to its ease of use; with users being able to complete transactions in over 56 countries, according to the AliPay team.

WeChat Pay – 900 million active users

Compared to other payments solutions, WeChat Pay was only recently introduced but had the distinct advantage of having an already existing user-base already of over 1 billion people.

Since it was introduced, WeChat Pay has been used for more than 1.2 billion transactions in 2019 alone.

Its combination of social networking; with users spending an average of 77 minutes on the app a day. And combine that with the increasing number of currencies that users can make payments in provide a useful recipe for success.

Union Pay – 200 million active users

One of the big advantages that UnionPay has compared to WeChat Pay and AliPay is the fact that it’s readily available for users in 200 countries. Even with this in mind, it still trails behind its counterparts in this region of the world.

Even so, UnionPay is certainly no slouch in the number of active users making and taking payments; which includes over 28 million merchants and impressive scope of coverage.

The Unbanked of Asia

One of the big questions is why? Why is this population proving to be so receptive to digital and mobile payments? Well, one of the arguments is that there is a substantial population of unbanked on the continent: over 658 million people, to be more exact.

With limited access to conventional bank accounts means that these people are looking to alternative payment methods to solve this. Meaning eCommerce platforms and payment apps are the best alternative.

No wonder that Asia is poised to become a world leader in internet usage, with China and South Korea pushing ahead in the application of 5G technology as well.

Payments in Asia – Big Lessons

For one, the market in Asia is massively mobile, and that’s not just during major sales events.

Associated Press highlights that these payment solutions allow users to make payments for any number of products, including paying utility bills and even settling those in restaurants.

Being social, and having flexibility is key for any business looking to make it on the Asian continent.

Here at Unlimint, we strive to provide our users with a wide-open door on the matter of payments; giving businesses access to over 300 different domestic payment solutions.

Statistically speaking too, it’s not just payment apps that provide users with versatility; with more apps allowing payments via instalments.

We’re glad to be one of the names out there providing recurring payments as well as flexibility for eCommerce businesses looking to offer instalment plans to a population that is looking for ease of use.

Asia is a truly exciting continent as far as payment solutions go, and we’re glad to be on the razor’s edge of innovation.


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