China’s Mobile Payment Preference over Credit Cards Benefits Its AI Initiatives

China’s use of mobile payment systems over credit card can pave the way for the country’s global dominance on technology, an analysis published by the Australian National University said.

The use of more advanced payment system allows China to harvest a substantial amount of data that it needs in advancing its technological efforts according to an analysis on the Asian country’s tech ambitions written by Andrew Kennedy, a foreign policy expert, on the 2018 China Story Yearbook published by the university.

The obsession of Australia, the U.S. and other western nations on the use of credit cards limits the data they can harvest for the advancement of their artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives. China, on the other hand, has abundance and quality of data coming from digital payment processing at its fingertips. Only 25% of American smartphone owners use mobile payments for purchasing while 81% of their Chinese counterparts pay by phone.

Data is crucial for developing AI. The quality and power of algorithms programmers and tech professionals can develop would depend on the amount of data they can use. Hence, to flourish in advanced technologies like AI, machine learning, and data analysis, the tech industry needs tons of interconnected and quality data, Kennedy said.

As the country with the most internet and mobile payment users, Chinese companies have access to a wealth of data that the U.S. and other countries with advanced technology development programs don’t have. Even Apple Pay and Google Pay have no access to the same kind and amount of digital information, Kennedy added.

Speaking of developing advanced technologies, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, is working on a new consumer credit rating system that can record if people have settled their utility bills, and it may release an initial version of this rating system soon.