Thomas Derksen, a German known for his funny online videos that make fun of Shanghai life, spent a day relying on only smartphone payment apps in Hangzhou. (Photo/China Daily)
Foreigners in China laud the country's world-leading mobile payment industry and say apps have made life a lot more convenient than in their home nations[Special Coverage]
Thomas Derksen, a social media star known for posting fun videos that satirizes everyday life in Shanghai, was recently given a challenge of spending a day in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, without any cash or credit cards on hand.
The German expatriate, who lives in Shanghai, admitted that it was something he could not imagine doing back home in Europe, but he breezed through the challenge using only his smartphone, which was installed with Alipay, the third-party payment app.
Derksen, who has been affectionately nicknamed A Fu by netizens, started his cashless day at Hangzhou East Railway Station, where he managed to rent an umbrella and a portable battery for his phone simply by scanning a QR code and completing the transaction with Alipay.
He then went on to perform many other transactions throughout the day, including taking a bus, getting a bouquet of flowers for his wife and even buying a street snack, all of which were captured on video.
At the end of the challenge, Derksenwas visibly astounded by the abundance of mobile payment options in Hangzhou, the host city of the G20 Leaders Summit on Sept 4 and 5.
"It is unbelievable that I can even buy street snacks with Alipay in Hangzhou," he exclaimed.
"To be honest, I dare not go out without cash even in Frankfurt, Germany. Among the several hundred cities in more than 30 countries I've visited, Hangzhou is truly the capital of mobile payment."
Chinese netizens may be amused by the German's reaction. After all, the cashless trend is fast catching on across China, especially in Hangzhou, where more than 95 percent of taxis, supermarkets and convenience stores accept Alipay.
In addition, more than half of the 40,000 or so restaurants in the eastern Chinese city, as well as various leisure and entertainment venues such as hair salons and karaoke lounges, accept this mode of payment.
According to the Digital Inclusive Financial Index, which is compiled by Peking University, Hangzhou is the top Chinese city in terms of mobile payment, credit fields, financial management, investment and insurance. The index surveyed 337 cities between 2011 and 2015.