How can China take its digital economy to new heights?

BEIJING: When shopping at a local food market in Bazhong City of Sichuan Province on January 18, Dylan Austin Walker, a young American who was in the area visiting his girlfriend’s family to ring in the Chinese New Year—on January 22 this year, could simply whip out his digital wallet to pay for groceries even in this remote area of the Chinese mainland. “Mobile payment is used widely in China by young and old, in big and small cities—even in villages,” Walker told Beijing Review.
Tobias Bauer, a young German and a partner at Blockchain Founders Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm, echoed Walker’s remarks. For example, when Bauer was living in China in 2017 and 2018, he found that almost nothing was based on cash anymore. Transactions generally went through Alipay, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s payment app, and Weixin Pay, referred to as WeChat Pay in overseas markets, a digital wallet connected to the eponymous app.
As of late 2022, Weixin, or the Chinese version of WeChat, had 811 million monthly active users in China, accounting for 57.9 percent of the total population, according to They use the app to communicate with friends and colleagues, create group chats, order food and play mobile games. “Effectively, your whole life is captured in one app,” Bauer said at a webinar discussing the digital economy on January 18. The webinar was supported by THINC, a 12-month fellowship program established by China’s tech giant Tencent, also the architect of Weixin, and the Beijing-based non-profit foundation Viva la Vida. The program gathers a community of carefully selected young global leaders, Bauer being one of them, to conduct open dialogue on a range of topics related to tech and humanity.
The digital economy is the economic activity that results from billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data and processes, according to Deloitte, a global professional services firm that offers auditing, consulting, advisory and tax services.
Mobile payment is a prime example of China’s digital economy, Liu Yangsheng, a senior fellow with the Taihe Institute, a public policy think tank based in Beijing, said during the webinar.
–The Daily Mail-Beijing Review news exchange item