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Mobile gaming

Chinese men outspend women online, thanks to gaming and takeout food

Annual spending survey reveals that mainland Chinese males now outspend women online – thanks to geeks playing games on empty stomachs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 6:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2018, 6:17am

Hungry young men glued to online games have helped change a bedrock belief in Chinese society: that women spend more on shopping than men.  

Driven by their spending on takeaway food and gaming, Chinese men now spend more than women online for the first time, according to a UnionPay survey released on Wednesday. 

About 23 per cent of male respondents said they spent more than 5,000 yuan (US$777) online every month compared to only 15 per cent of women who spent that much, according to UnionPay, mainland China’s biggest bank card provider.

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The annual survey has been published for the past 10 years but this was the first time men were found to be outspending women when it comes to online shopping, the company said.

In China, where there are 1 billion mobile phones in use among the population of 1.3 billion, placing orders and making payments via handsets is common among consumers, especially the younger generation.

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UnionPay, which surveyed more than 100,000 people in 34 cities in China, said more than half of Chinese consumers use mobile phones to shop online, order takeaway food, call taxis, and repay credit card debts.

Over the past year, male consumers ordered more food online and recharged their accounts for internet-based games, which saw their spending outstrip women in China for the first time, according to the survey. Of the respondents, 70 per cent were aged between 20 and 40 years.

According to an annual report released on Wednesday by Chinese food delivery service Ele.me, which is backed by e-commerce operator Alibaba Group, Chinese consumers placed 18.86 million online orders for congee with minced pork and preserved egg in 2017, making it the most popular takeaway food in the country. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

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Runner up dishes were spicy drumstick burgers and chilli and sour potato, which had 18 million and 17.6 million online orders respectively last year.

There were no figures available for the number of gamers who ordered these dishes, but separate data shows that the number of gaming players in China almost topped 60 million, with the Chinese gaming market generating 203.6 billion yuan in revenue in 2017, up 23 per cent year on year, according to the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.

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Honour of Kings , launched by gaming and social media giant Tencent Holdings in 2015, has become the highest-grossing mobile game in China with more than 200 million players.

The game, the most popular of its kind among young mobile gamers in China, helped Tencent’s online games revenue grow 48 per cent year on year to 26.8 billion yuan in the quarter ending September 30.