With Tim Cook having as good as confirmed that mobile payment via Touch ID is on the way, numbers released by the People’s Bank of China and reported in TechNode provide an insight into just how big the mobile payment market could be. Total mobile payments in China last year hit 9.64 trillion yuan – equivalent to $1.59 trillion.
Mobile transactions on just one of China’s mobile payment services reached 25,000 per minute. While China has a population of 1.3B, contrasted with around 317M in the USA, and many of those in China use a mobile device as their primary Internet connection, it still illustrates what a huge opportunity iPhone-based payments could represent for Apple.
It’s been suggested that Apple’s approach may be to allow payment to be made via iTunes accounts, effectively turning Apple into a bank – a prediction I made last September. Using iTunes as a payment method would mean that customers would not have to hand over card details to retail stores. In the light of recent large scale card compromises at Neiman Marcus (1.1M cards) and Target (2M cards), this may well prove a strong reason for iPhone owners to use the service.