SHENZHEN Metro riders can use online payment services to purchase tickets on all eight Metro lines starting today, according to Shenzhen Metro Co.
Besides paying by cash or Shenzhentong card, riders can scan the QR code at the Metro stations using WeChat or Alipay to purchase a ticket, which generally takes about three seconds.
The popularization of online payment will bring convenience to tens of thousands of the city's newcomers and border-crossing travelers that use Metro services.
According to Zhou Ling, an engineer with the ticket center at Shenzhen Metro Operation Headquarters, the Metro company is working with online payment service providers to develop a plan that allows riders to take trains directly by scanning a QR code, without necessarily having to buy a ticket.
The payment method will be popularized across all Metro stations within the year, allowing riders to scan the code before entering the payment area and then pay the fare before leaving the station.
Shenzhen Metro completed testing of online payment for tickets at six stations on Line 3 in January, the last of the eight existing lines to have initiated the online payment program.
Shenzhen Metro Co., which operates seven subway lines, has set up 508 mobile payment dispensers at 172 stations. The dispensers at Metro stations near transport hubs, tourism attractions and business circles ensure commuting efficiency during the holidays, or on weekends, when passenger flow suddenly surges.
Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, became the first city in China to realize mobile payments on its subway in December last year.
The number of China's mobile payment users has exceeded 520 million, according to Ant Financial, Alibaba's financial affiliate.
According to the People's Bank of China, Chinese banks dealt with 8.6 billion payments from mobile services in the second quarter of last year, up 40.5 percent from a year ago. The combined value of mobile payments jumped 33.8 percent to 39.2 trillion yuan (US$6 trillion).
Mobile payment penetration is highest in China, according to a survey by global market and opinion research specialist Ipsos last September. According to the survey, 77 percent of Chinese use mobile payment services. In addition, 14 percent of Chinese consumers said they will not carry cash and 26 percent of them said they only pay with cash if it is less than 100 yuan.
The survey covered a total of 18,000 consumers. India is the second-largest market for mobile payments while Japan has the lowest penetration rate at 27 percent. The rate is not very high in developed countries, such as the United States and Germany.