When I handed cash to the cashier at a restaurant in Shanghai recently, he looked at me blankly for a moment. On the register were prominent signs for WeChat Pay and Alipay, the two dominant forms of mobile payment, which are used by hundreds of millions of Chinese instead of cash. The cashier took my money, and I ate my noodles overlooking the pond in the Yu Garden feeling uncharacteristically like a yokel. African businesses have pioneered mobile payments on the continent. I use M-Pesa in Kenya and haven’t been in a branch of my bank since FNB’s smartphone app became my personal banker. But China is riding a wave of mobile technology that is impressive. WeChat has more than one billion users and is the "everything" app. It goes beyond messaging in a way Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp haven’t yet cracked. WeChat allows you to do just about anything — order a taxi, book a restaurant table then pay the bill, send friends money, use a chatbot with service providers, post "moments" th...

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