Monday , June 17 2024

Vietnamese students in China get familiar with cashless lifestyle


When she first arrived in China at the beginning of this year, Truong Thi Huong Giang surprised a supermarket cashier by seeking to pay in cash.

The 21-year-old from the northern province of Hai Duong, started attending the International Chinese Language Teaching undergraduate course at the Beijing Language and Culture University in February. One of her first things that struck her about the place was the cashless lifestyle.

In China, people pay for just about everything, from tickets on public transport to groceries, by Alipay, which is linked to their bank accounts.

When she first landed up, Giang did not have a bank account and so used cash to shop for groceries.

She told VnExpress: “When I took out cash to pay, the supermarket cashier had a surprised expression. It took a while for them to find change and pay me back.”

Giang uses a QR code to pay at a supermarket in Beijing, China. Photo courtesy of Giang

Giang uses a QR code to pay at a supermarket in Beijing. Photo courtesy of Giang

According to a 2021 report by China’s Payment and Clearing Association, around 95.7% of people used QR codes to pay. The rate was 53% on public transport vehicles with many others using prepaid transport cards, though their use had decreased.

On average, a Chinese person made payments using QR codes three times a day. People born after 1995, who used QR codes four times a day, were the most active in using mobile payment methods.

Wang Yu, a senior person in the department of risk management at UnionPay, a state-owned financial services corporation, listed convenience and promotions as the biggest reasons for Chinese to pay digitally.

Supermarkets still accept cash, but few shoppers opt for this, Giang said. Most people scan the barcodes on products they want to buy and complete bank transaction processes on their own, and rarely ask for assistance from cashiers, whose main tasks are helping elderly people and foreigners.

So smartphones are a must-carry for people in China, told Giang.

“I use my mobile phone to scan registration codes, sign for class attendance, buy things from vending machines on the campus, rent bikes, and buy public transport tickets.”

She was confused when she first used public transport in China since subway users have to scan a QR code when entering a station and exiting. The system calculates the fare and automatically subtracts the amount from their account. Once she got used to it, she found this payment method “very convenient.”

Le Khanh Linh, 24, a third-year student of Chinese language at the Central China Normal University in Wuhan, said she has become familiar with cashless payments at supermarkets and on public transport.

Linh visits the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, on May 12, 2023. Photo courtesy of Linh

Linh visits the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, on May 12, 2023. Photo courtesy of Linh

The subway offers commuters various payment methods, including QR codes, pre-paid season tickets and single tickets, but Linh usually pays through QR codes for convenience and safety.

“I hope Vietnam’s public transport system develops quickly and people will be able to pay without using cash.”

Nữ sinh Việt khiến thu ngân siêu thị Trung Quốc bất ngờ

Linh buys subway tickets and rents a bike in Wuhan, China, with QR codes on her mobile phone on May 14, 2023. Video courtesy of Linh

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