Alipay data reveals why Shanghai is China’s greediest city

We knew that Alibaba was having a big year for mobile when sales via mobile made up nearly 70 percent of the company’s Singles Day haul. But now with the year over, Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial has released a bunch of interesting data on Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment platform, throughout 2015. The biggest headline: a full 65 percent of the money exchanged on Alipay in 2015 was sent via mobile. That’s up significantly from 2014, when mobile accounted for just under 50 percent of Alipay’s total business.

Interestingly, the most mobile-friendly geographical areas were China’s western provinces. Tibet, for example, did 83.3 percent of its Alipay business via mobile. Qinghai, Guizhou, Gansu, and Shaanxi – all also less-wealthy western provinces – posted very high mobile numbers too. That’s probably because personal computers are less common in the west due to their high cost, whereas mobile broadband and smartphones are relatively affordable.

The developed eastern cities couldn’t be outdone on one metric though: total spending. The award for that went to Shanghai’s Alipay users, who spent a whopping RMB 104,155 (US$15,839) per capita. Zhejiang, Beijing, Jiangsu, and Fujian (in that order) filled out the rest of the top five top spenders, but only Shanghai broke the RMB 100,000 barrier.

[su_pullquote]Who sends the fattest red envelopes when holidays roll around?[/su_pullquote]Shanghainese were also the hungriest Alipay users, ordering more food via Alipay than users anywhere else (with other developed cities like Beijing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen trailing slightly behind). Ordering delivery from O2O food providers became a major trend this year, and Alipay users spend an average of RMB 30 (US$4.56) for the delivery meals they ordered.

Finally, with this year’s Spring Festival coming up, it’s worth asking: who sends the fattest digital red envelopes when holidays roll around? Exchanging the virtual cash-envelopes has become a major trend in recent years, and if you’re looking to make a haul this year, here’s a hint: make friends with people in Zhangzhou and Hangzhou. Those two smaller cities had the highest per capita giving numbers (US$224 and US$218 respectively) of any cities in China last year. Other generous cities included Putian, Wenzhou, and Weifang. And Ant Financial says that trend holds further down the line: generally, people in third- and fourth-tier cities were more generous with red envelopes than people in first-tier spots like Shanghai (based on the per capita sums given from each city).

(Source: Sina Tech)


Editing by Erik Crouch for Techin