Digital Media: Life-Changing Online

Real Money, Real Me: Life Told by Third-party Mobile Payment Platforms


  • Rong Huang Peking University



Third-party mobile payment, identity, Alipay, WeChat pay


Platforms are constantly shaping online identities. The third-party mobile payment solution is one of the latest technological innovations that have redefined how we lead our lives today. The popularity of third-party mobile payment in China allows platforms greater data power to present users’ identities either as individual consumers or as members of a consumption community. This article first introduces the background and data features of third-party mobile payment platforms. It then concentrates on the two dominant platforms, Alipay and WeChat Pay, to demonstrate their different monetary approaches to user identities, characterized respectively by personal finance and by collective belonging. Finally it will discuss in brief further implications, including the possibility of a unified on/offline identity, the identification of an online user, and the issue of privacy protection.

Author Biography

Rong Huang, Peking University

Rong Huang is currently a postdoctoral fellow at The School of Health Humanities, Peking University, where she works on the intertwining between life writing and medical humanities. She holds an MA in English Language and Literature and a Ph.D. in Comparative and World Literature. Her research interests include autobiographical narratives, contemporary world literature in English, theories of the body, and media studies. She has published articles about life writing, world literature and new media. Email:





Digital Media: Life-Changing Online