SINGAPORE (July 17): Not having a smartphone in China can be a real handicap. Wads of red RMB100 notes, with the ubiquitous picture of Mao Zedong, are no longer commonly seen changing hands, as mobile apps like AliPay and WeChat Pay have become the default payment mode. With a usage rate of 80%, it is around double that of Denmark which has the next highest mobile payment penetration rate. Despite being a developing country with large swathes of its population remaining in rural poverty, China’s increasingly cashless society is enough to leave visitors from the Global North feeling that their own countries are backward and undeveloped. 

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