Chinese Internet users spend $1 trillion online, emerges world leader in mobile payments

As China emerges the world leader in online payments, Internet users in China are now the hottest targets for hackers and cybercriminals.

Visitors use their smartphones underneath the logo of Tencent at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
Visitors use their smartphones underneath the logo of Tencent at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo Reuters

China, the world's largest population is witnessing an Internet boom. The country has emerged the world leader in mobile payments as it spent close to $1 trillion online in 2016. As the number of Internet users is increasing, the country is also becoming a soft target for hackers and cybercriminals.

According to statistics from The China Internet Network Information Centre, the country has 750 million Internet users as of June 2017; a 1.1 percent rise from 2016. Out of the 751 million, 96.3 percent (724 million) access Internet on mobile phones. Online spending in China has increased by 32 percent in the last five years touching $967 million in 2016.

In China, only 52 percent of their population uses the Internet, leaving a significant scope for growth in the coming years. High-speed mobile connectivity and fast-cycle innovation also act as catalysts in increasing the number of Internet users in the country.

Cyber Security issues on the high

In the midst of these developments, Zhang Jian, the deputy secretary-general of the Cybersecurity Association of China told that the massive user base has triggered serious cybersecurity issues. As per Zhang, most Internet users consider their smartphones as their secondary electronic wallets, which makes them the hot target for hackers who approach the users seeking payment details, passwords, and other confidential personal data. Zhang also warned that compromising crucial details in the phone may lead to loss of money directly from the bank accounts.

Zhang added that both the government authorities and individual Internet users should prepare well for potential security risks. He also emphasized on the vitality of building better mechanisms to combat e-virus infections.

Shi Xiansheng, the deputy secretary of the Internet Society of China said that cybersecurity threat has affected 88.6 percent of Chinese mobile Internet users last year. 76 percent of the Internet users faced various privacy violations including spam messages, marketing calls, and promotional texts.

Safety concerns over Android apps

Recently, Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and the Data Centre of China Internet released an alarming report which pulled the Internet users to a state of dilemma whether to use their smartphones for banking purposes. The study reveals that nearly 97 percent of the Android mobile apps have access to the user's privacy, while 25 percent blatantly violates the privacy.

The case of iOS phones is no different, as 70 percent apps compatible with this platform have access to user's personal information.

The Internet Society of China reports that more than two million malicious Internet programs were identified in 2016, and 99.9 percent of them were exclusively targeting Android devices. Experts believe that installing insecure apps will make your personal data more vulnerable to hackers. In order to combat this, it is always recommended to install apps from secure channels after reading the user agreement.