Circle CEO on Chinese payment apps: ‘There’s just nothing like that in the West’

Global online payments platform Circle is making moves in China. Circle aims to connect renminbi to western countries and also service 120 million Chinese travellers heading overseas each year. The Circle mantra is to make payments as easy as sending email, which it does using its own internal treasuries within the app, and also using the Bitcoin blockchain as a settlement rail.
Circle China opened offices at the start of this year in Beijing and the $60m funding round was led by IDG Capital Partners, a prolific Beijing-based VC and a group of other strategic Chinese investors, including search giant Baidu.
China’s digital platforms have gained a mythic status for their unbridled innovation and also sheer scale. IBTimes UK asked what can be learned from super-scale Chinese fintech platforms.
Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire said: “If you look at Alipay and WeChat’s payment apps, what you see are full messaging apps that are integrated with your social graph. They have really strong integrated person to person payments, for instance, that are free.
“Over half a billion people use their apps. People don’t use cash; people don’t use cheques; people don’t do bank wires. There is really a new kind of digital cash that people use.
“Businesses of every size, from conglomerate retailers all the way down to the guy with the stall selling food – they all take payments with these, all done with QR codes. They just use their phones. There isn’t a complicated point of sale system; you just scan a QR code.”

This post was published at International Business Times on August 30, 2016.

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