How China is leading fintech innovation in mobile payments

17 May 2018

During the fourth Innovation Talk of the Sring Edition, Candice Koo, the Co-founder and Managing Director of CANCAN Global Payments and promotions, introduced the topic of China’s contribution to mobile payment innovation, and presented her company, an integrated technology platform that enables mobile payment on a global scale and which is currently used by 1.4 billion people in 47 countries.

China’s contribution to mobile payment innovation.

In China mobile payments caught on quickly, becoming on a fast pace a cashless societyChina is where I believe the innovation is happening, an innovation that drives transformation of the financial sector through payments technology, impacting the daily lives of people and giving them ever greater access and variety in financial services,” tells Candice Koo during her speech. “Mobile payment has really reached all corners of society, so deeply, that there has been cases of beggars accepting mobile payment while begging on the street.”

In terms of revenue generated, mobile payment companies are estimated to reach 1 trillion US dollars in revenue in 2018, and will surpass the 1 trillion mark in 2019. This trend is much clearer if we consider that in 2010 cash transaction represented 61% of overall retail spending, and are projected to decrease to 30% by 2020. Moreover for the first time in 2017, there were fewer ATM machines in circulation than the previous year.



The Chinese market of mobile payment services in sow divided between two giants: Alibaba which is a parent of Alipay, and Tencent which is the parent of WeChat Pay. These two are are amongst the world’s most valuable in the sector, right after Apple and Microsoft.

“Alipay is a system built around speed and convenience, WeChat Pay is a system built on social interaction,” explains Candice Koo.Together they give us two of the most important achievements of digital technology: Convenience and Community.”

The Chinese model is a network of services enabled by technology, with mobile payments serving as an axis of that network. It is a system that reduces traditional frictions in the financial system, not so much by eliminating the actors and going direct to consumer, but by making those actors partners in the network to serve the consumer.


The foundation of CANCAN as a startup company with a small team

In 2015 the fintech sector was still very new, but Candice and her business partner couldn’t ignore that something big was happening in China.  Although the opportunity to achieve something in this space was not clearly written, it was for sure a chance to grab.

“My co-founder at CANCAN who comes from the air travel and media industry saw an opportunity to leverage the Chinese mobile payments platforms to market to Chinese tourists traveling on airlines and transiting through airports, and sought out Alipay and WeChat Pay for partnerships to see what we can do in that space.”

Those first conversations proved to be decisive in confirming the opportunity, the business plan and positioning of CANCAN. It turned out that Tencent was so focused on China, that they were not thinking of expanding their platform overseas to serve Chinese tourists; and the conversations with Alipay made clear that there was no-one addressing global companies as a whole.

This is why CANCAN decided to conceive a platform with an universal API. We work with global retailers to give them one solution that can accept QR code payments in their store network from any provider.


A few advices to BBS students 

“There are many fintech companies out there who are looking for people like you, so don’t be afraid to approach them. Experience is not so relevant, it’s about the willingness to learn, the passion to make a difference, the desire to build the future instead of revisiting the past or sitting on your laurels,” concludes Candice Koo addressing the audience in the Aula Magna of Villa Guastavillani.

The first advise I would like to give you is to go and visit China. See for yourself what is going on, this “financial” life that is sweeping the country. Secondly, form your own opinion about technology, about financial technology. It’s important because fintech is impacting our world, and accelerating the speed at which our societies are moving, changing, evolving in many regards. Thirdly and finally, keep an open mind about your own journey. You may have preconceived ideas about where you want to work but there could be new possibilities that did not exist at the time when you were first deciding whether or not you should go to business. “



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