Chinese mobile payments were nearly 50 times greater than those in the US last year, market data show, highlighting Chinese internet companies’ strong position in a market segment viewed as a gateway to the fintech ecosystem. The value of Chinese third-party mobile payments more than tripled to Rmb38tn ($5.5tn) in 2016. In the US, mobile payments rose 39% to $112bn. According to the Financial Times, more than half of all mutual funds in China are now sold online, up from only 5% in 2012. Last year was also a turning point for the use of online payments at physical retailers, including supermarkets, restaurants and clothing shops. Starbucks announced in January that it would begin accepting WeChat Pay – the payments service linked to Tencent’s ubiquitous mobile messaging app – at its China stores.