Mobile payment user numbers in China are expected to top 950 million by 2023, Frost & Sullivan forecast, with potential growth drivers including improved availability in rural areas and increased usage among elderly consumers.

The analyst house’s prediction represents strong growth on the 562 million users it reported in 2017. Annual total transaction value is expected to increase from $29.9 trillion in 2017 to $96.7 trillion by 2023.

Illustrating the wider benefits, Frost & Sullivan ICT industry principal analyst Mei Lee Quah said: “In China, e-commerce is a powerful incentive for users to purchase smartphones that enable mobile payment features. The social aspect that mobile payments brings can serve as an integral step in building trust and learning about digital services, especially in rural communities”.

China is already considered one of the leading markets for mobile payment systems. Over the last two years, its principal players have widened their scope with a number of overseas investments and partnerships with retailers and providers in other markets.

In a separate study, Frost & Sullivan noted usage of mobile payments by tourists travelling from China was also on the up: in 2018 tourists from the country were six times more likely to make mobile payments than holiday-makers from elsewhere.