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Business trends

In China, cash is no longer king

Rural residents, the old and tourists suffer as shops reject paper and plastic

Alibaba's Alipay is one of the leading smartphone payment services in China.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- As more shops and restaurants in China move toward only accepting smartphone payment services such as Alipay, the elderly, visitors from overseas and people from rural areas who are unfamiliar with or lack access to these systems are running into problems paying with cash or credit cards.

A cashless society has many advantages, including lower transaction costs. But it also creates a divide between those who can make cashless payments and those who cannot.

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