China is obsessed with QR codes, and most of them are for mobile payments. Just about everyone in China with a smartphone and a bank account would have a third-party mobile payment app installed in his or her phone.

Mobile payments in China are just so convenient that people do not need to carry cash around. These payments are usually made via Alipay and WeChat Pay, the two dominant mobile payment apps in China. It is so ubiquitous that you can see QR payment codes pretty much everywhere in restaurants, food trucks, marts, and so on. You can even pay your apartment rent with it.

The value of China’s mobile payments tripled to more than RMB 38.5 trillion (USD 5.6 trillion) in 2016 and is projected to reach RMB 55 trillion (USD 8 trillion) in 2017, according to estimates by iResearch in China. It is believed that China’s mobile payments sector is about 50 times bigger than that of the U.S.

As the largest country in the world is on its way to phase out cash, AllChinaTech visited a local food market in Beijing to see how trendy mobile payments really are.

“Promoting a cashless market,” says a sign outside Sanyuanli Market in Beijing.
“Promoting a cashless market,” says a sign outside Sanyuanli Market in Beijing.
Almost every vendor provides QR payment codes for Alipay and WeChat Pay at Sanyuanli Market in Beijing.
Almost every vendor provides QR payment codes for Alipay and WeChat Pay at Sanyuanli Market in Beijing.
This vendor has QR codes posted on the window so that customers can scan the codes with their phones easily.
This vendor has QR codes posted on the window so that customers can scan the codes with their phones easily.
A halal butcher at Sanyuanli Market. He provides both Alipay and WeChat Pay QR codes at his stall.
A halal butcher at Sanyuanli Market. He provides both Alipay and WeChat Pay QR codes at his stall.
A butcher’s shop at Sanyuanli Market. Mobile payments are available here.
A butcher’s shop at Sanyuanli Market. Mobile payments are available here.
A shopper using Alipay to pay for her vegetables at Sanyuanli Market.
A shopper using Alipay to pay for her vegetables at Sanyuanli Market.
This seafood vendor sticks multiple QR codes all around his stall.
This seafood vendor sticks multiple QR codes all around his stall.
You can buy fruits by simply scanning the QR codes with your smartphone.
You can buy fruits by simply scanning the QR codes with your smartphone.
More QR codes at this small grocery store in Sanyuanli Market.
More QR codes at this small grocery store in Sanyuanli Market.
A customer scanning a WeChat Pay QR code at a fruits shop near Sanyuanli Market.
A customer scanning a WeChat Pay QR code at a fruits shop near Sanyuanli Market.
A hardware store near Sanyuanli Market sticks an Alipay sign on its window, hoping to attract customers.
A hardware store near Sanyuanli Market sticks an Alipay sign on its window, hoping to attract customers.

(All photos by Timmy Shen/AllChinaTech)

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Timmy Shen
Timmy contributes at AllChinaTech. He's passionate about photography, education, food and all things tech. He holds a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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