Can Chinese Payment Apps Gain Traction Globally?


Chinese-owned social media app TikTok is a global phenomenon. In the United States, TikTok seems to have taken over public discourse, if not the public’s phones: policymakers continue to express concern over the app, trying to force the sale of the company to a U.S. entity or pushing to ban it entirely, while teenagers, unbothered by the fuss in D.C., use it to get beauty tips or try out the latest dance challenge.

Yet, for every TikTok, there is a WeChat, an app that is ubiquitous in China but that has failed to catch fire abroad. WeChat is just one of many Chinese apps incorporating financial technology (fintech), helping remake how more than one billion people think about banking and spending money. Yet, the rest of the world remains virtually unaware of these apps’ existence.

Still, as Peterson Institute for International Economics Senior Fellow Martin Chorzempa argues, Chinese fintech companies and their super-apps will still revolutionize global finance. In this excerpt from his book The Cashless Revolution: China’s Reinvention of Money and the End of…

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