The Chinese government wants to encourage more rural residents to adopt mobile payment platforms. New regulations encourage the popularization of online financial tools (Techcrunch), and the hope is that by digitizing the lives of the farming communities — from getting loans to buying fertilizers to leasing land — China can bolster the economy in smaller cities and countryside hamlets.
All told, 76.9% of Chinese adults used digital payments in 2017. But that ratio was just 66.5% in rural areas, according to a report released by the central bank recently.
Why it matters
Companies targeting China – particularly those in web-based industries – should expect a sharp rise in rural user numbers, for three primary reasons:
- Growth of urban consumption is slowing, while growth in rural consumption is accelerating.
- China’s rural areas are the new frontier of the mobile web.
- Alibaba’s Cainiao network is pushing hard to improve logistics and delivery times outside of major metropolitan areas.
User needs differ between China’s urban and rural markets, so if you’re not testing and optimizing for a non-urban user base, now would be a good time to start.