Continuing our preview of our new Trends 18 report (download a free copy here), today’s chart highlights how the race to get a foothold in emerging markets is reshaping the mobile payments landscape.

In emerging markets, rapidly expanding smartphone penetration rates help mobile payments leapfrog relatively under-developed financial infrastructures. This has made these markets (primarily in APAC) prime targets for the current heavyweights in the industry – Apple Pay and Ant Financial’s Alipay.

Apple Pay has an impressive list of markets under its belt, but its solution relies heavily on strong credit/debit card penetration in a country. And while its handset-specific product potentially limits its addressable market in these Android-centric countries, its brand image will be a key asset here.

Alipay’s handset-agnostic approach relying on QR codes gives it an important advantage in these markets. Alipay is also investing in or acquiring established native players in certain markets to leverage their existing market share, giving it in-roads into India, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. Also, with its investments in Lazada and Tokopedia, this places Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore within its reach, putting it in direct competition with Apple.

There’s a good chance that 2018 will see a large portion of the mobile payments landscape carved up between the two solutions, with much of this division based around infrastructure development.

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