Mobile payments bid aids poverty fight

Updated: 2015-11-26 08:06

By CHEN JIA(China Daily)

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A way to alleviating poverty in China is being paved by a multinational development institution.

International Finance Corp is helping the rural population to access mobile payment platforms to support the nation's service-oriented economic restructuring.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group that focuses exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.

Simon Andrews, IFC country manager for China, Korea and Mongolia, said it will continue to place emphasis on part of its long-term strategies in China by helping people who live in poverty.

In an ongoing program in China, IFC is working with microfinance companies to help them increase lending and services to the poorest areas of the country. This includes small businesses and individuals, Andrews said.

IFC is also interested in expanding financial services to the poor in China through new technology, such as payment systems on smartphones-launching a mobile banking program two years ago to improve financial inclusion in China.

To date, the program has led to more than 3 million accounts being linked to the mobile banking system, to about 590 billion yuan ($92 billion) in non-cash electronic transactions and to 760 million yuan being saved in direct transaction costs.

Big data companies are able to use their platforms to provide smartphone users with access to financial services at much lower cost, Andrews said.

"This is a huge change in providing financial services for individuals, and we think China is a very interesting place to do this," he said.

"In coming years, one of the most important parts of our strategies in China is to support people in less developed areas, to create jobs for them, provide them with access to health, education and financial services-so they can start their own businesses."

This year marks the 30th anniversary of IFC's first investment project in China-an automobile producer in Guangdong province.

The corporation said in a statement that by the end of June it had invested $10.43 billion during the past 30 years in China. This includes $4.67 billion in loans, $3.1 billion in equity investment and $2.08 billion in syndicated loans.

Its investment in the country is widespread, covering financial services, the manufacturing sector, energy and infrastructure construction.

"We are glad to see a positive trend in the long-term transformation of Chinese economic growth from an export-led capital-intensive model to more consumption-oriented growth," Andrews said.

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