An Alipay logo is seen at a cashier in Shanghai on January 12, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Ali Song

China’s mobile payments in 2017 totaled 81 trillion yuan, or US$12.77 trillion, as of October according to a report from the Xinhua news agency this week.

The volume crushed the total for the whole of 2016, which came in at 58.8 trillion yuan, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China’s transformation into a cashless society is a development that could unleash tremendous potential energy in China’s economy.

“Companies like Alibaba and Tencent draw rural areas into a global economic marketplace. Chinese who once tilled subsistence plots or manned market stalls are turning into entrepreneurs with access to capital markets through such platforms as Jack Ma’s Ant Financial, and global sales through Alibaba,” Asia Times columnist David Goldman wrote last September.

“China is in the midst of a value explosion via a technological revolution which mobilizes the talents of the largest and hardest-working population in the world,” he said in a recent Bloomberg interview. “It’s something the world has never seen, and it’s going to amaze all of us.”