Today, when I had dinner with Bruce, he asked the question about credit card. I had been following credit card usage in Shanghai for many years, and witnessed the transition from very hard to use to very popular today. However, I just realized that maybe Chinese will directly bypass credit card stage.
Something we may ignore is, credit card system was invented well before Internet, or even computer was invented. Since there is no way to trace usage of money in real time, people at that time either use “check”, or credit card – one for debit, and one for credit.
In China, people tend to use debit card protected with password, over credit card. They are essentially the same user experience in China. The computer system connects with the mainstream machine back in bank, and authorize in real time.
When that system is in place, why bother using credit card. PayPal type of services, or mobile payment will continue to evolve and provide better solution than credit card. Then why bother?
That also answered the question why Chinese people don’t use check. I never have a check book, and I believe no one in my close circle in China ever wrote a check.
It is the same for other things. Chinese have passed the whole generation of
– Voice mail
– Taped movie
– Fixed line phones (in some rural areas).
We did catch up the CD, DVD, and VCD age, that is the reason when online downloading has been so convenient, most people still prefer buying DVD, because they have the infrastructure of DVD machine at home…
See? Technical trends always get dragged back by social trends.