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'Great inventions of the modern age' grip expats in China

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-10 08:46

Editor's note:

For centuries, the "Four Great Inventions of Ancient China" - namely the compass, gunpowder, papermaking and printing - have been celebrated as technologies that have made significant contributions to civilization.

Today, novel technologies have once again shortened the physical and cultural distances between different parts of the world.

In a video that went viral online recently, foreign students in China have redefined the "four great inventions" of the modern age: mobile payment, bike-sharing services, e-commerce and high-speed trains.

While technically speaking, these are not purely Chinese inventions, there's no doubt that Chinese innovation has made these technologies even more important in a closely connected world.

Let's take a look at some of these "great inventions of the modern age".

'Great inventions of the modern age' grip expats in China

Clockwise from top left: German-born Thomas Derksen, an online celebrity with millions of Chinese fans on Weibo and other social media networks, buys a bus ticket using Alipay, enjoys a snack paid for with an app, rents an umbrella at Hangzhou East Railway Station, and buys a bouquet of flowers at Wushan Flower and Fish Market. [Photo/China Daily]

 

1. Mobile payment

Foreigners in China laud the country's world-leading mobile payment industry and say apps have made life a lot more convenient than in their home countries.

Mobile payment systems have grown into a lifestyle choice of Chinese people throughout their daily activities and interactions, following the rapid development of mobile payment services led by third-party payment companies.

Twenty-eight-year-old German-born Thomas Derksen, an online celebrity with millions of Chinese fans on Weibo and other social media networks, recently posted a public letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Weibo and Facebook, calling for the promotion of a cashless economy in Germany.

Derksen spent an entire day in Hangzhou, the capital of East China's Zhejiang province, last year without any cash or credit cards on hand.

The German expatriate, who lives in Shanghai, admitted that it was something he could not imagine doing back home in Europe, but he breezed through the challenge using only his smartphone, which was installed with Alipay, the third-party payment app.

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