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The phenomenon of bike rentals is just one example of an innovation made possible by these mobile payment platforms.

Just two of the largest bike rental companies, Ofo and Mobike, have scattered more than 13 million GPS equipped bikes around the city.

It was not long ago when the West was debating whether China would ever enter the modern financial age by adopting credit cards en masse, but the Chinese were reluctant to take on personal debt.

Now it would seem that China has leapfrogged the credit card era (and the huge debt burden many in the developed world now face) entirely with payment apps that both link directly to Chinese bank accounts and often provide attractive interest rates.

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Given that the Chinese government maintains control over both the Internet and bank accounts in China, as well as companies such as Alibaba and We Chat, Chinese citizens are surrendering every last vestige of privacy they once had.Increasingly now, financial transactions in the Chinese economy are taking place through payment apps on smart phones.Watch special report below: Imagine a leaving your house in China and hailing a taxi that you pay for by scanning a QR code on an app, buying food from a street vender again with a phone app, since no cash is accepted, then later going out for lunch by renting a bike just by scanning its QR code.Many experts point to this lack of point of sale equipment, expensive and vulnerable to hacking, that has allowed so many stores and restaurants quickly to adopt payment apps rather than credit or debit cards.For foreigners without Chinese smartphones, payment app profiles or bank accounts, conducting any financial transactions at all has become difficult.

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