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    Mobile payment is easy. Just ask the man who paid $23,000 for two buns
    Mobile payment is easy. Just ask the man who paid $23,000 for two buns
    BUSINESS

    Mobile payment is easy. Just ask the man who paid $23,000 for two buns

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    by
    Alan Wong
    Alan Wong
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    In much of urban China, cash is a thing of the past. Payment using your phone – not even credit cards – is king.

    For businesses, one reason to embrace electronic payment is that it induces people to spend more than they would spend their cold, hard cash.

    Enter this steamed bun takeaway joint in Central China.

    At Bian Liang Da Tang Bao in Zhengzhou city, Henan province, a single bun costs 1.5 yuan – about 25 cents.

    But one customer last month dropped $23,000 (147,258 yuan, to be exact) on an order for two of them. 

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    The receipt for the payment for ¥147,258 – that’s $23,000.
    The receipt for the payment for ¥147,258 – that’s $23,000. Photo: thepaper.cn

    The mobile payment transaction took place on April 2, according to the China News Service, the country’s second largest state-run news agency.

    For a month, no one came forward to claim the apparent overpayment, the agency reported.

    The takeout’s owner, He Liuzhu, said he couldn’t sleep at night because he was too anxious to return the money, which amounted to more than a year’s bun sales, according to the report.

    China had more than 530 million mobile payment users by the end of last year, according to government statistics. That’s more than one-third of the country’s population of 1.4 billion.

    A street vendor in Shenzhen with a mobile payment QR code on the bottom of his scales.
    A street vendor in Shenzhen with a mobile payment QR code on the bottom of his scales. Photo: May Tse

    In most Chinese cities, payment scanning a QR code with your phone is the default way of doing business. Everyone from restaurant owners to buskers takes mobile payment.

    The big spender only surfaced and identified himself after the news prompted a national search.

    On Wednesday a man surnamed Han came forward, and was verified by local police to be the customer behind the transaction, the China News Service report said.

    How did mobile mix-up take place?

    Han told reporters that, distracted by his rowdy kid, he entered his mobile payment passcode into the payment box.

    Hopefully he’s changed this password since then.

    ALAN WONG
    ALAN WONG
    Alan is editor at Inkstone. He was previously a digital editor for The New York Times in Hong Kong.

    ALAN WONG
    ALAN WONG
    Alan is editor at Inkstone. He was previously a digital editor for The New York Times in Hong Kong.

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