Mobile payment has become more popular in China's rural areas as internet technology has made transactions faster and more convenient in remote places where banks and ATMs are not easily accessible.
A consumer scans the QR code to pay in front of a stand in Nanning city, south China's Guangxi Province on December 23, 2017. (Photo: VCG)
Transactions through non-banking mobile payment services totaled 42.9 trillion yuan ($6.77 trillion) in rural areas last year, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in a report.
"Mobile payment is dominant [in the rural market]," said the PBOC, the country's central bank, as it took the lion's share of the 45-trillion-yuan web-based non-banking transactions in the countryside.
Meanwhile, mobile banking business also boomed. There were nearly 10 billion payments worth 38.89 trillion yuan made via mobile banking services, up nearly 80 percent and 66 percent, respectively. In contrast, other online payment services stayed flat, and telephone payment services shrank substantially.
Thanks to widespread financial technology, China's mobile payment market has been growing rapidly in rural areas that lag behind in banking infrastructure.
Almost half of offline deals in rural areas were completed via mobile payment services, according to a document of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Analysts believe rural areas have become a promising market for the digital economy, in which online payment has played a significant part with rising third-party platforms such as Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's Wechat Pay.