Research Outline

Social Trends and Technology - China


To understand how China is ahead of the US in social trends and technology with specific examples/case studies of trends and technology in China that the US is currently lacking in order to investigate potential opportunities for the US in this space.

Early Findings

Some examples of social trends and technology areas where China is ahead of the US are:

Internet Base and Technology Use

  • The United States has been the world's biggest and most significant internet market for decades. However, due to its large population, China has surpassed the United States in the number of mobile and internet users. Today, China has four times more mobile users as compared to the US.
  • Official statistics released by the Chinese government revealed that nearly 58% of the country's population, i.e., 802 million Chinese were actively using the internet in 2018. Around 98% of these users i.e., 788 million Chinese were active mobile users in 2018.
  • By March 2019, the number of internet users in China had grown to 829 million. On the other hand, the US has 293 million internet users. This indicates a huge difference in both countries' internet market.
  • Nearly 43% people in China use taxi-booking apps, 31% use bike sharing apps, and 37% book a bus or train seat online.

Mobile Payments

  • While sending money via checks is still very common in the US, Chinese make 11 times more payments via mobile phones as compared to the Americans.
  • According to a report by Ernst & Young, FinTech adoption rate in China is 69%, the highest in the 20 largest global markets.
  • "Experts estimate that China is nearly 5-6 years ahead of the US in FinTech as its financial and commerce services are built around social media applications."


  • China accounts for 42% of the global e-commerce market while the US accounts for only 24% of this market, with its share decreasing from 35% in 2005.
  • By the end of this year, China will be leading the global retail market as online retail sales in China are estimated to reach $5.636 trillion. Alibaba and are the main players in the Chinese e-commerce market. Alibaba alone accounts for 53.3% of this market's share in China.