China Merchants Bank announced that its credit card transactions exceeded a record 27.2 billion yuan on November 11, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) reported that it handled at least 20 billion yuan the same day.
While using a credit card to shop in the U.S. is popular, China has been known for its high savings rate and paying preference only with funds in hand. But consumer habits are changing, especially among younger Chinese, thanks in part to increasing consumerism and in part to financial technology growth.
According to analysts figures, a significant portion of sales during the Singles Day shopping activity in China this year came from spending on credit.
While using a credit card to shop in the U.S. is popular, China has been known for its high savings rate and paying preference only with funds in hand. But mobile payment systems that are commonly used function more like a debit card.
But consumer habits are changing, especially among younger Chinese, thanks in part to increasing consumerism and in part to financial technology growth.
Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, for example, has a product called Huabei that provides a revolving line of credit or installment purchase plans for users. JD.com has a similar Bai’tiao payment product.
Last Monday, celebrated as the Singles Day in China, the increased use of credit items was most evident.
Alibaba, which reported record sales of 268.4 billion yuan ($38.3 billion) across its shopping platforms this year, is leading the annual shopping spree on Nov. 11. That is a rise of about 26 percent year-on-year— slower than 27 percent growth in 2018. Online retail sales totaled 870 billion yuan from November 1 to November 11, China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.
This year, Kapronasia fintech analyst Leilei Wang reports that at least half of all purchases were made using Huabei on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall e-commerce sites.
“This type of consumer finance encourages a certain amount of consumption,” Wang said, adding that younger consumers are typically more willing to try out new ways of spending.
According to a report from Ant Financial’s digital bank MyBank, quoted by state news media Xinhua, Tmall cut interest rates on 8 million products to zero during the shopping event — five times as many products as last year.
A separate Xinhua article quoted Huang Hao, President of Financial Digital Finance, as saying that typically businesses that open support for Huabei see transactions increase by 38%.
No data was available from Ant Financial for Huabei purchases during Singles Day. A company representative did not respond to a request for comment immediately.
On social media, one user said that after Singles Day some of the difficulties include repaying Huabei and picking up packages.


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