Realty One Group
Silicon Valley, CA
I took this photo accepting foreign mobile pay in front of a supermarket chain in Foster City, Northern California. Foster City is in Peninsula next to San Francisco Bay known for its modern homes and high quality life. How did this technology invented a few miles from this supermarket revolved into a cashless payment to other countries so quickly?
Canada, UK, Australia, India all use QR code. India took a special liking to cashless transactions in the last few years. 65% smart phone users signed up for payments. They have 9 different vendors. However, China has surpassed every country trying to be cashless. In 2016 $9T sales (77% phone users) were conducted with mobile pay while US spent just $0.112 T (80X less).
Smart phones of all brands are made in China. The Chinese popular brand Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Lenovo cost ~50% less than US iPhones for similar features. The basic local smart phones can be ~25% of iPhones sold in US. People in Europe who possess both iPhone XR and Vivo ($170) reported there is no basic difference in performance. In fact, the Chinese phone batteries seem to require less charging using premium Li-Ion materials. I looked at my CA gardener’s ZTE phone and like his big screen, camera features better than my iPhone 7s. He makes calls overseas. “How much did you pay?” “$100 bucks, Señor”. Smart phones in China is very affordable to average folks including beggars as working tool.
Beggars using QR code to collect donations(ref 1)
So how do beggars, an oldest profession will bring income if few people now carry changes? Apparently, they have overcome the obstacle with a high technology tool developed in Silicon Valley using QR code for several years with great success.
They are now seen near tourist places, airports and subway stations across all of China and other countries. With digital payments using QR (Quick Response URL) codes, almost 10 trillion US dollar eWallet transactions are processed yearly inside China. That is more than twice 2018 US federal government budget! The beggars do stand a better chance of getting donations via e-wallets rather than asking for spare change.
These tech-savvy beggars of China usually carry a printout of QR codes in their begging bowl or just wear an employee QR card. Since most people in Chinese cities do not carry change. They then ask people to scan these codes to make donations via Alipay or WeChat Wallet, two of the most popular e-wallets in China. If you are thinking how the beggars can afford a smart phone to receive the money via mobile payments, there is more to it.
Not all beggars carry smart phones and how do they get paid? They signed a contract harvested by new high tech start ups for a split of the donation similar to realtor’s commission split between brokers and agents. These scans allow these businesses to harvest through the eWallet applications the same way Facebook, Amazon, and Target are trying to snitch your profiles. They turn around sell the information. The QR scanner does not charge service fees to donors. Local business sent data sell as marketing research information. Business sent sales to their WeChat eMail similar to what machine learning is doing on Facebook and other social media. Beggars do not need to count their change at the end of business day. They get paid with a coupon with QR on it.
When asked if the donor’s privacy is intruded? One Chinese donor stated on YouTube” “The government knows and keeps track of everything you do anyway. As long as you don’t break the law. Government does not gives a shi@. You know how much money your neighbor takes home. Doesn’t FBI tracks and listen to what Mr. T team in DC and what they are saying to the foreign dignitaries?”
Often each scan brings ~1 US quarter for the high tech beggar. However, a hard-working top producer is estimated to gross $675 a week for 6 days of work. Perhaps, the cultural difference about privacy, India and China can quickly take advantage QR code to track parts and quantum jump into mid 21st century with a cashless society leaving other countries behind.
Mao would turn over in his tomb. “This is a Great Leap Forward to capitalism putting Tim Cook and others in America to shame.”