The continuance usage intention of Alipay: Integrating context-awareness and technology continuance theory (TCT)

Abul Khayer (Center for Modern Information Management, School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)
Yukun Bao (Center for Modern Information Management, School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)

The Bottom Line

ISSN: 0888-045X

Publication date: 13 August 2019



The purpose of this paper is to examine the continuance intention of Alipay by proposing an integrated model. This paper highlights how the capacity of providing context-based information to the users plays significant role in determining the continuance intention of mobile payment like Alipay.


Data are collected from 336 Alipay users from Wuhan, P.R. China. To analyze the data, the authors apply structural equation modeling approach. Also, the authors perform importance-performance map analysis (IPMA) to identify the critical factors in explaining the continuance intention of Alipay.


The results of the study reveal that confirmation and perceived usefulness significantly influence the continuance intention of Alipay through satisfaction. Also, perceived usefulness, satisfaction, context and ubiquity have direct impact on the continuance intention of Alipay through attitude. According to IPMA, perceived ease of use, confirmation and context require special managerial consideration to improve their performance.


This research has proposed and validated an integrated model by incorporating context-awareness theory and technology continuance theory. This study provides significant insights that can assist respective decision-makers to formulate/adjust their strategies related to the retention of the existing users of mobile payment like Alipay.



Khayer, A. and Bao, Y. (2019), "The continuance usage intention of Alipay: Integrating context-awareness and technology continuance theory (TCT)", The Bottom Line, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 211-229.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

1. Introduction

Tremendous advancement in mobile technologies offers numerous promising services to consumers in different areas (Chhonker et al., 2018). Among these services, mobile payment service is experiencing wider acceptance throughout the world. Mobile payment refers to the mechanism of accomplishing financial transactions by using mobile technologies in anytime and anywhere basis (Oliveira et al., 2016). Recently, various high-tech companies have developed different payment solutions such as Alipay, WeChat pay, Apple pay, bKash, M-Pesa to offer convenient mobile payment services (Thakur and Srivastava, 2014). Alipay is the largest and popular mobile payment platforms in China. Alipay allows users to make payments for both online and offline shopping with a reliable network payment method. It has reduced distances between customers and traders. Alipay is now offering wide ranges of payment facilities by establishing strategic cooperative relationships with numerous financial institutions (e.g. banks, VISA and MasterCard) and other third-party organizations.

Despite enormous apparent benefits (e.g. fast, secured, and convenient payment), Alipay is suffered from the discontinuation of using this service after a certain period of time (Cao and Niu, 2019). Users discontinue using a service when they find incompatibility between the initial expectations and the real experience of using that service. Also, privacy and security risk of leaking user information (Nguyen and Simkin, 2017), the paucity of trust (Chen and Li, 2017), and severe competition from rivals (Parnell et al., 2018) cause for the discontinuation of using technologies. However, the success of any technology-driven service relies on continuous use rather than first-time use (Nascimento et al., 2018). The active participation of users depends on the needs and experience of utilizing a technology. If consumers are not satisfied with the service, they may stop using or switch to another similar service offered by a different company (Chuah et al., 2017). Thus, the total benefits of using Alipay cannot be realized if it is not utilized continually by users. As the use of Alipay is voluntary in nature, it is challenging to retain existing customers. The inability of retaining customers and the failure of encouraging existing customers towards continuance use could result in a great consumer loss (Zhou, 2013). Therefore, it is essential for an organization to have quality information that can be used to motivate the existing consumers towards the continuance use of a technology-driven service.

The majority of the extant research on mobile payment has investigated the initial adoption and usage behavior, giving less importance to the continuance intention (Thakur and Srivastava, 2014; Slade et al., 2015b; Zhou, 2014a; Oliveira et al., 2016). However, Veeramootoo et al. (2018) argued that initial adoption behavior and continuance behavior are two theoretically distinct concepts and are influenced by diverse sets of aspects. The usage behavior related to the information system (IS) after preliminary adoption may change on the basis of their real experiences, which may eventually intensify or reduce future use (Santhanamery and Ramayah, 2018). Therefore, research on investigating the prominent factors affecting continuous intention rather initial adoption has become paramount.

Although we identified few studies that measure the continuance intention of mobile payment, these studies emphasized more on user perceptions (Zhou, 2014b; Zhou, 2013; Chen and Li, 2017). However, it is not sufficient to consider only user perceptions in order to evaluate the usage behavior of mobile payment. The context-awareness theory claims that the high acceptance of an information technology depends on the capacity of the technology to provide updated and relevant information or services using the context of the user (Schilit et al., 1994; Cao and Niu, 2019). Despite advanced perception about an information technology, users will not use that technology if they think that the technology does not have the ability to capture and deliver accurate, precise, and timely information related to the context of the device. Alternatively, the continuance usage intention of mobile payment not only depends on user perceptions but also on good context-awareness. The capacity for providing context-based information or services is essential for enhancing the continuance intention of mobile payment. Therefore, this research integrates context-awareness theory with the existing technology continuance theory (TCT) to understand the continuance intention of mobile payment solution like Alipay.

To bridge the gap in the literature, this study proposes a robust model incorporating context-awareness theory with TCT. This research has applied the popular structural equation modeling (SEM) approach to analyze the research model. This study aims to answer the following research questions:


What are the determinants of the continuance usage intention of Alipay?


What is the role of context-awareness theory on the continuance usage intention of Alipay? and


What are the critical factors that need special managerial attention to improve their performance?

First, two questions are examined with the use of SEM and the last question is examined by using importance-performance map analysis (IPMA). Finally, this study provides valuable information to Alipay managers who can utilize this information to enhance the continuance usage of Alipay service.

2. Background

2.1 Context-awareness theory

According to Schilit et al. (1994), “context includes location, identities of nearby people, hosts, and accessible devices, and changes to those things over time”. The three important aspects of contexts are place, surrounding people, and nearby resources. However, this definition is argued by Dey (2001) for not having the capacity of enumerating important aspects of all situations (both physical and social) and provide a revised definition. He defines context as any information that can characterize the situation of an entity (e.g. person, place, or object). If an application has the capability to provide important context-based information or services to its users, that application is considered as context-aware software (Cao and Niu, 2019). Moran and Dourish (2001) state that the context-awareness application aims to attain and use information about the context of a technology to deliver services which are suitable to the current setting. For instance, a software application can give users the location of the restaurants near their location during dinnertime, if the application can know the dinner schedule and location and restaurant location. This paper claims that context-awareness theory has two dimensions namely context and ubiquity. Context is the ability of the system to provide relevant information or services on the basis of the user's location, environment or state; and ubiquity can be defined as the ability of the users to choose a mobile terminal at any time and any place to get the service or information (Cao and Niu, 2019). Several researchers examined the impact of context on the behavioral intention in different contexts such as Alipay user adoption (Cao and Niu, 2019), mobile commerce (Lee, 2005), mobile O2O user acceptance (Li and Zhong, 2016) and mobile O2O (Chen, 2008).

2.2 Technology continuance theory (TCT)

Liao et al. (2009) first developed the TCT that predict if users intend to continue using a technology or not. As an improved model for assessing the continuance intention of an IS for the total life cycle of acceptance, the TCT was suggested as an appropriate framework (Liao et al., 2009). This theory has been developed by integrating three popular IS models such as technology acceptance model (TAM), expectation-confirmation model and cognitive model to estimate long-term usage behavior of innovative technologies with respect to the scope of applicability and descriptive strength (Liao et al., 2009). From the qualitative point of view, this theory has a significant theoretical contribution that it incorporates attitude and satisfaction in a single continuance model. Along with functional perspective, consumer behavior may also drive by emotional value. The TCT proposes attitude as a variable that represents individual context, which captures the consumers’ symbolic or emotional value.

The TCT also offers an outstanding initial point for further investigation of the IT continuance behavior. This model has the following strengths that make it appropriate for assessing the continuance intention. TCT:

  • has a strong theoretical foundation;

  • has been validated by a growing number of empirical researches in the field of marketing and IS;

  • is compact model as it has only six constructs to explain continuance intention;

  • is the latest, integrated and robust theory; and

  • has empirically testable capacity in settings where research follows, rather than precedes.

According to Liao et al. (2009), although TCT has provided a solid foundation of assessing the continuance intention, this model can be extended with the use of various context-specific constructs related with different research contexts. Therefore, the TCT has been used as the theoretical foundation to describe the continuance usage intention of mobile payment (e.g. Alipay) in this research context.

2.3 Combinations of theories

Earlier scholars claimed that there is a necessity to combine and/or extend various theories to understand user adoption and post-adoption behavior of an IS (Veeramootoo et al., 2018). For instance, Awa et al. (2017) claimed that modification, revision and extension of an individual model are required in certain distinct information technology application. Since the limited proficiency of IS concepts is unable to explain the intricacies related to mobile payment, it is necessary to integrate different theories/models to analyze the continuance usage behavior. In addition, the inclusion of context-related constructs allows a more explicit examination of consumers’ acceptance of specific technology, mobile payment in this context (Veeramootoo et al., 2018; Nascimento et al., 2018). In response with the recent calls of the IS researchers, this study has integrated context-awareness concept with the existing TCT to provide a holistic understanding of Alipay continuance usage in comparison with the findings gained using TCT or context-awareness theory only.

3. Research hypotheses

3.1 Confirmation

Confirmation is defined as the cognitive conception denoting to the level that the real use of technology-driven services reflects the anticipated use of that technology. According to Bhattacherjee (2001), when there is an incompatibility between pre-expected perceptions and post-purchase experience, cognitive dissonance occurs, and subsequently, users adjust their perceptions to minimize this dissonance. Prior studies on continuous usage behavior have supported the significant relationship between confirmation and user satisfaction (Veeramootoo et al., 2018; Nascimento et al., 2018). In this research context, if the initial expectations of using Alipay match with the real experience, the level of satisfaction of the users will be positively influenced. Moreover, confirmation plays a significant role in users’ post-adoption behaviors such as perceived usefulness. According to Bhattacherjee (2001), users might use their confirmation experience to shape their perceived usefulness, particularly when there is doubt and uncertainty regarding what should be expected from system usage surpasses the users’ initial perceived usefulness. Specifically, the degree of confirmation and disconfirmation enhances and diminishes the level of the perceived usefulness respectively. Therefore, the following hypotheses are formulated:


There is a positive relationship between confirmation and user satisfaction.


There is a positive relationship between confirmation and perceived usefulness.

3.2 Perceived usefulness

Perceived usefulness denotes the belief of a user that the use of a particular system can be useful for enhancing his/her job performance (Davis, 1989). By using an IS, users can be benefitted in various ways such as ensuring more accuracy, efficiency, and quickness in job completion (Yang et al., 2009). Earlier studies have established a direct relationship between perceived usefulness and user satisfaction, and perceived usefulness and continuance usage intention (Bhattacherjee, 2001; Weng et al., 2017). For instance, Liao et al. (2009) found a positive and significant relationship between perceived usefulness and user satisfaction and perceived usefulness and the continuance usage intention in the context of Taiwan. Also, extant literature supported the positive and significant impact of perceived usefulness on consumers’ attitude (Oliveira et al., 2016; Slade et al., 2015a). For instance, Ghazali et al. (2018) conducted a research on analyzing the intention to adopt m-shopping and technology in the Malaysian context and found a positive relationship between perceived usefulness and consumer attitude. In this research context, when users derive more benefits from using Alipay, they will be more satisfied; their attitude will be positively influenced and thus, they will be more likely to continually use this service. Therefore, the following hypotheses are postulated:


There is a positive relationship between perceived usefulness and satisfaction.


There is a positive relationship between perceived usefulness and attitude.

3.3 Perceived ease of use

Perceived ease of use refers to the extent of convenience involved with the use of an information system and the degree to which an information system is understandable or not (Davis, 1989; Ghazali et al., 2018). The simplicity in using an innovative technology plays a weighty role in using that technology. In the context of this research, ease of use indicates how much endeavor users need to understand, learn, and use the mobile payment system. The possibility of adopting a new technology will be higher if users feel ease to integrate the technology into their activities. Previous studies found a significant effect of perceived ease of use on perceived usefulness and attitude in technology adoption (Chen, 2008; Bailey et al., 2017; Ghazali et al., 2018). Alipay users may have lower technical knowledge to use advanced and complicated technology, thus, they perceive the use of Alipay to be free of effort. In consistent with TAM, this study assumes that perceived ease of use significantly enhances the perceived usefulness of users. Also, perceived ease of use helps to form positive attitude towards the continuance use of Alipay. Therefore, we posit the following hypotheses:


There is a positive relationship between perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness.


There is a positive relationship between perceived ease of use and attitude.

3.4 Satisfaction

According to marketing literature, consumer satisfaction plays a significant role in building and retaining loyalty (Chuah et al., 2017). This is also applicable in the context of IS in which user satisfaction inclines to strengthen a user’s intention towards continuous use (Veeramootoo et al., 2018). According to Bhattacherjee (2001), user satisfaction is one of the key factors that influence post-adoption behavior such as continuance intention. In consistent with Liao et al. (2009), this research assumes that the level of satisfaction plays a noteworthy role towards continuance intention of Alipay. Moreover, the satisfactory experience of using a technology positively influences users’ attitude towards continuance intention of Alipay. Thus, we propose the following hypotheses:


There is a positive relationship between satisfaction and continuance usage intention.


There is a positive relationship between satisfaction and attitude.

3.5 Attitude

Attitude is defined as “the degree to which an individual makes a favorable or unfavorable evaluation or appraisal of the behavior” (Ajzen, 1991). The role of attitude on behavioral intention or intention to use has been examined in the context of different IS/IT adoption and post-adoption theories. For example, in accordance with TAM and theory of planned behavior, attitude, personal innovativeness and trust jointly determine consumers’ behavioral intention (Ghazali et al., 2018). In the context of mobile payment, a number of studies support the relationship between attitude and behavioral intention (Liébana-Cabanillas et al., 2014a; Liébana-Cabanillas et al., 2014b; Qin et al., 2019). Realizing its importance in IS/IT adoption research particularly in mobile payment context, the following hypothesis is posited:


There is a positive relationship between attitude and continuance intention.

3.6 Context

Context may play a noteworthy role in continuance usage intention of any mobile technology-based service (Liang and Yeh, 2010). Context is the capability of mobile services to offer appropriate information and customized services on the basis of the real-time information related to the user's surroundings (Cao and Niu, 2019). Earlier researchers have extensively examined the impact of context-awareness and found a positive relationship between contextual elements and behavioral intention (Lee, 2005; Li and Zhong, 2016; Chen, 2008). Alipay offers various suitable services (e.g. online payment, online shopping, transfer accounts, credit card repayment, mobile phone recharge, personal finance and other financial services) based on users’ location information and identity information. This research assumes that the ability to provide such context-based information and services will enhance the possibility of continuance usage intention of Alipay. Also, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and attitude will be positively affected by the capacity of delivering context-based services. Thus, we develop the following hypotheses:


There is a positive relationship between context and perceived usefulness.


There is a positive relationship between context and perceived ease of use.


There is a positive relationship between context and attitude.

3.7 Ubiquity

Ubiquity, another important dimension of contest-awareness theory, is considered as an important determinant of continuance intention of mobile technology-driven services. Ubiquity is the capability of the users to get the required information or services by connecting a mobile terminal at any time and any place. In the domain of mobile payment, Alipay has the ability to create a connection between users and various third-party institutions (e.g. retail stores, cinema, chain stores, taxis) in anywhere basis. Moreover, mobile payment can be used anywhere, anytime with the use of any mobile terminals; this will facilitate users for making easy and fast payments for different transactions (Cao and Niu, 2019). Therefore, this study thinks that ubiquity will positively influence the continuance intention of using Alipay. This study also assumes that the ubiquity has the possibility to affect perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and attitude towards continuance intention. Thus, we formulate the following hypotheses:


There is a positive relationship between ubiquity and perceived usefulness.


There is a positive relationship between ubiquity and perceived ease of use.


There is a positive relationship between ubiquity and attitude.

Above mentioned discussion leads to develop the following research model in Figure 1.

4. Methodology

4.1 Survey development

We have developed a survey instrument, divided into part A and Part B, to gather responses. In part A, there were 29 questions regarding different constructs of the proposed model. To enhance the content validity, all measurement instruments were adapted from existing literature (Appendix 1). A five-point Likert scale was used to gather data. Part B consisted of the respondent’s demographics such as gender, age, educational qualifications and mobile payment usage experience”. The questionnaire items were initially evaluated by two academicians who have expertise in technology adoption research to improve clarity, consistency and comprehensibility. This study has ethical approval from the Center for Modern Information Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.

4.2 Data collection

To test the research model, data were collected from 336 Alipay users from Wuhan, P.R. China. A pilot test was undertaken to test the reliability and appropriateness of the instrument with a sample of 50 graduate students from School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China. The results of the pilot study were used for context-specific adjustment of the instrument.

In the absence of an appropriate sampling frame, a non-probabilistic convenience sampling technique was applied. The data were collected through conducting a cross-sectional survey in Wuhan, China at various places such as i.e. universities, shopping malls. Before starting the survey, we sought participants’ verbal consent if they are interested to take part in the survey or not. After that, we provided a brief introduction to the research aim and the privacy of their information. Most participants completed the survey at the spot, however, some also preferred for an email survey. We noted their email addresses and sent the questionnaire to them via email. We distributed 400 questionnaires (including email-based), among them 360 were received. After conducting a data cleansing process, a total of 336 questionnaires were assembled for further analysis. The demographic characteristics of respondents exhibited in Appendix 2 indicate that out of 336 respondents, males are 65 per cent and females are 35 per cent. In terms of age distribution, the dominant group was 18-30 years (43 per cent), and the majority of the respondents (37 per cent) have masters or equivalent educational qualification.

4.3 Data analysis

Data were analyzed using SPSS 23.0 and SmartPLS 3.2.6 version software. In this study, SEM was applied to determine the reliability and validity of the constructs and to test the proposed model and hypotheses (Chin, 1998). The SEM approach was considered as the most appropriate approach as it has the ability to examine a series of relationships simultaneously, whereas other statistical methods (e.g. multiple regression, or multivariate analysis of variance) are confined to analyzing the relationships between each construct singly (Hair et al., 2016). Besides, the confirmatory approach of SEM rather than descriptive supersedes other multivariate approaches in testing a theoretical model. At the last stage, we have conducted IPMA to recognize the critical factors that have higher importance but lower performance in explaining the continuance intention of Alipay.

5. Results

5.1 Common method bias and multicollinearity test

We have checked common method bias (CMB) by applying Harman’s single-factor test. To identify the number of factors critical for the description of variance, we have performed principal axis factor analysis (PAF) (Harman, 1976). The results showed that a single construct was responsible for 34.85 per cent of the total variance which is far below than the suggested 50 per cent (Podsakoff et al., 2003). We have also assessed CMB based on variance inflation factors (VIF) values (Table I) of the constructs generated from full collinearity test. These values were also below than the suggested 3.3 (Kock, 2015). Thus, CMB was not found as a threat in this study. Furthermore, based on the values of VIF, which were far below than the threshold of 10, we can conclude that there is no multicollinearity problem in this study (O’brien, 2007).

5.2 Measurement model

The measurement model was estimated by reliability, convergent validity and discriminant validity of the research instrument (Hair et al., 2006). The values of Cronbach's alpha, Dijkstra-Henseler's rho (ρA), and composite reliability were used to measure the internal reliability of constructs. Indicators reliability was measured by the values of their loadings. Similarly, convergent validity was assessed by the average variance extracted (AVE) values. In this study, the reliability coefficients exceeded the suggested value of 0.70 (Hair et al., 2006; Henseler et al., 2016), and the AVE values for all variables were >0.50 (Fornell and Larcker, 1981) (Table II).

The values of item loadings (>0.70) suggested that more variance was shared between an item and its construct (Hair et al., 2012). Therefore, this study confirmed acceptable internal reliability and convergent validity. Further, the square roots of all AVE values were higher than the corresponding cross-correlation and each item loaded most strongly on its corresponding construct (Table III). Also, all values of heterotrait–monotrait ratio, as shown in Table IV, were <0.90. These confirmed the discriminant validity of the constructs (Henseler et al., 2014).

5.3 Structural model

After confirming the acceptable psychometric properties of the measurement model, structural model was tested. The goodness of the structural model was assessed by R2 and the level of significance of the path coefficients (Hair et al., 2013). The values of R2 indicated that the model explained 66.8 per cent of the variance in continuance intention, 67.2 per cent of the variance in attitude, 49.1 per cent of the variance in satisfaction, 62.3 per cent of the variance in perceived usefulness, and 36.6 per cent of the variance in perceived ease of use. The path significance levels were assessed using the bootstrapping method (5000 re-samples). The hypotheses results are depicted in Table V.

The paths for hypotheses H1 (p <0.01), H2 (p <0.01), H3 (p <0.01), H4 (p <0.01), H5 (p <0.01), H7 (p <0.01), H8 (p <0.01), H9 (p <0.01), H10 (p <0.01), H11 (p <0.01), H12 (p <0.01), H13 (p <0.01), H14 (p <0.01) and H15 (p <0.01) were statistically significant, while path for hypothesis H6 (p >0.05) was not confirmed. These results indicated that confirmation and perceived usefulness have significant effects on satisfaction. Similarly, the impact of confirmation, perceived ease of use, context, and ubiquity on perceived usefulness was found significant. Context and ubiquity positively influenced perceived ease of use. All the antecedents (e.g. perceived usefulness, context, ubiquity, and satisfaction) except perceived ease of use have a significant effect on attitude. Attitude along with satisfaction significantly influence the continuance intention.

5.4 Predictive relevance

To assess the predictive relevance of the endogenous constructs, we have applied Stone–Geisser’s Q2. Cohen (2013) suggested that the Q2 values of 0.02, 0.15 and 0.35 as low, moderate and large amount of predictive relevance. The Q2 values for all endogenous constructs (As shown in Table VI) are positive and greater than 0.15. This implies that all endogenous constructs have significant predictive relevance. Also, the R2 values decide the predictive capability of endogenous constructs. The R2 values for attitude, continuance intention, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and satisfaction range from 0.366 to 0.672 which exceed the threshold value of 0.100. These indicate that these constructs possess the acceptable predictive capacity.

5.5 Effect size

The effect size determines the predictive capacity of exogenous constructs. In this study, we used f2 values to test the effect size. The f2 values of 0.35, 0.10, or 0.02 indicate large, medium, or low effect size (Cohen, 2013). In our study, the f2 values (as shown in Table VII) for all the exogenous constructs are positive and greater than 0.02. This indicates that all the exogenous constructs have effects on endogenous constructs.

5.6 Importance-performance map analysis

According to Ringle and Sarstedt (2016), “The importance-performance map analysis (IPMA) gives researchers the opportunity to enrich their PLS-SEM analysis and, thereby, gain additional results and findings.” The goal of running IPMA is to distinguish factors that have relatively high importance but relatively low performance in shaping the endogenous variable (Hair et al., 2016). The importance of predecessor constructs is determined by their total effects on the dependent variable, while performance is estimated by the average latent variable scores. The performance values were rescaled to a range of 1 to 100 (Hair et al., 2016).

The results of IPMA are shown in Table VIII. By plotting the importance and performance scores, we developed a priority chart (Figure 2). From the chart, we can see that perceived ease of use, confirmation, and context have relatively higher importance (total effects) compared to other variables, but the performance of these constructs are relatively low. Conversely, the performance scores of ubiquity and perceived usefulness are relatively higher compared with other constructs, although they have lower importance scores.

6. Discussion

This study confirmed that perceived usefulness, satisfaction, context, and ubiquity positively influence the attitude towards the continuance intention of Alipay. In contrast, perceived ease of use was identified to have an indirect effect on the attitude. Individual’s attitude can be measured by the level of satisfaction related to the use of mobile payment like Alipay and the extent to which it may evidence useful and beneficial to the users. Consistent with extant studies (Slade et al., 2015b; Liébana-Cabanillas et al., 2014a), this study claimed that the usefulness and benefits of mobile payment system will influence users’ attitude towards the acceptance of the system. As users use Alipay for making financial transactions, they mainly focus on perceived benefits, accordingly, perceived ease of use was found insignificant in determining users’ attitude. Context and ubiquity were found to have a positive and significant impact on users’ attitude. These findings imply that mobile payment applications such as Alipay can provide different personalized information and services (e.g. suitable trips, restaurants, shopping malls) based on users’ location, time, surroundings, etc. Alipay can provide suitable financial solutions based on users’ account balance. The ability to offer such context-based information and services certainly influences the user’s attitude towards continuance intention. Further, this study confirmed that attitude plays a robust and noteworthy role to the continuance usage intention of mobile payment like Alipay, particularly in the context of China. “This finding is supported by some existing researches (Cao and Niu, 2019; Liang and Yeh, 2010). This strong and significant impact of the mediating construct attitude on continuance intention indicates that users might intend to use Alipay continually on the basis of their strength of attitude”.

This study also found that confirmation and perceived usefulness determine the satisfaction level of Alipay users. These findings imply that a wide variety of functional benefits of Alipay directly influence user satisfaction. Also, the degree to which users’ initial expectations are fulfilled shapes satisfaction level while using mobile payment like Alipay. Further, user satisfaction significantly affects continuance intention. Earlier researches conducted in different contexts have validated these findings (Bhattacherjee, 2001; Nascimento et al., 2018). This result is expected as the continuance usage intention of Alipay primarily depends on the satisfactory experience of using this service.

In line with some extant researches (Nascimento et al., 2018; Liao et al., 2009), perceived usefulness is influenced by confirmation and perceived ease of use. This indicates that based on the real experience of using Alipay, users modify their perceptions regarding the benefits of Alipay. It can be attributed that users’ confirmation about their initial expectations from using mobile payment and the level of ease related to the operation of mobile payment application direct to enhanced perceived usefulness, and in contrast, disconfirmation, and complex applications lead to a declined perception about usefulness. Moreover, the effects of contexts and ubiquity, two elements of the context-awareness theory, on perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use were found significant in this study. This finding reinforces the importance of providing relevant real-time information to the users. The ability of Alipay to deliver useful information or services based on the contextual factors (e.g. place, time, state) enhances users’ perceptions about usefulness and ease of use. This outcome is supported by the findings of Cao and Niu (2019).

Finally, this study identifies several critical factors that have relatively higher total effects but lower performance compared to other factors in explaining the continuance usage intention of Alipay. According to the results of IPMA, it is apparent that perceived ease of use, confirmation, and context are the most critical factors. As these factors have higher total effects but lower performance scores, special managerial actions must be taken to improve the performance of these factors.

7. Research implications

7.1 Theoretical implications

This study has offered several contributions to the existing information systems (IS) literature, particularly in the domain of mobile payment. IS experts advised that the integration of models/theories/frameworks improve the explanatory capacity of the model to assess the information system technology (Veeramootoo et al., 2018; Delone and McLean, 2003). In response with this recent call, this research has proposed and confirmed an integrated model by blending TCT and context-awareness theory to provide a comprehensive understanding about the continuance intention of mobile payment system such as Alipay.

The results of this study recommend that the proposed model has robust predictive capacity as this model explained 66.8 per cent of the variance in continuance usage intention, 67.2 per cent of the variance in attitude, 49.1 per cent of the variance in satisfaction, 62.3 per cent of the variance in perceived usefulness and 36.6 per cent of the variance in perceived ease of use. This study offers not only the combination of theories models/theories in the context of mobile payment but also the generalizability, thus, this model can be used to assess the continuance intention of other innovative technologies. The validity and reliability of the scales used in the survey instrument were tested.

Finally, this paper has performed IPMA in PLS to generate additional insights about the predictors of continuance usage intention. The aim of IPMA was to examine the predictors’ importance (total effects) and performance (average latent variable scores) in determining target constructs, continuance intention in this research context. Very few studies performed such analysis, particularly in the context of mobile payment.

7.2 Practical implications

This study provides pragmatic implications that help to expand the continuance intention of using mobile payment like Alipay. This study suggests that context-awareness plays an important role in shaping perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and users’ attitude towards continuance intention to use mobile payment. With the rapid development of information technology, mobile devices can collect different information about users and their environment. Based on this information, mobile payment service providers must provide different personalized services to users in the appropriate place and time. Also, mobile payment should be used in anytime, from anywhere. These surely help to retain the existing users of Alipay.

Also, a positive attitude leads to continuance intention, which suggests that mobile payment service providers may find it useful to form consumers’ positive attitude. They need to focus on improving the functional benefits of Alipay that meet users’ expectations and enhancing the level of satisfaction in order to form a positive attitude towards the use of Alipay. Special focus should be given to explore ways to upsurge users’ experience of positive confirmation regarding the initial expectations of using mobile payment applications so that the level of satisfaction and the perception about functional benefits is improved. The service providers must keep all the promises that were offered before selling mobile payment services in order to ensure confirmation as well as improve the satisfaction level of users. Managers need to invest more resources in enhancing their R&D initiatives in order to ensure that mobile payment services contain all the features and functionalities that meet the users’ requirements. In this regard, managers may consider involving users to advance the service design and applications design to enhance confirmation and perceived usefulness, which in turn, will increase user satisfaction.

8. Limitations and future directions

This study offers several key implications to the researchers, managers, and practitioners. Nevertheless, it has some limitations which may lead to future agenda for research. Firstly, although this study has taken into account the relevant constructs to continuance usage of mobile payment, it omits some important constructs such as trust, social influence, self-efficacy, etc. that could potentially explain continuance usage behavior. Secondly, this research implemented an empirical investigation considering one-time cross-sectional data collected from a single city, Wuhan, P.R. China, which indicates that the research reveals only a particular situation of that country. Future research work can be conducted by using cross-country longitudinal data. Finally, this study has applied the SEM approach, which is linear in nature. Further research can be conducted using a mixed analytical approach by integrating linear methods (SEM, multivariate analysis) and nonlinear tools (artificial neural network, support vector machine, fuzzy set) to generate more insights about mobile payment.


Proposed research model

Figure 1.

Proposed research model

Collinearity statistics (VIF)

ATT 2.515
CON 1.843 1.755
CONTX 2.282 1.546 1.967
PEU 2.074 1.716
PU 2.964 1.861
SAT 1.739 1.681
UBQ 1.906 1.546 1.771

Measurement model

Constructs Items Loadings Cronbach's alpha rho_A CR AVE
Attitude ATT1 0.886 0.859 0.861 0.905 0.704
ATT2 0.853
ATT3 0.818
ATT4 0.796
Confirmation CON1 0.870 0.827 0.828 0.896 0.743
CON2 0.845
CON3 0.870
Context CONTX1 0.807 0.839 0.842 0.892 0.674
CONTX2 0.815
CONTX3 0.829
CONTX4 0.834
Continuance usage intention CUI1 0.898 0.865 0.866 0.918 0.788
CUI2 0.902
CUI3 0.862
Perceived ease of use PEU1 0.760 0.754 0.762 0.844 0.576
PEU2 0.705
PEU3 0.813
PEU4 0.774
Perceived usefulness PU1 0.830 0.860 0.864 0.905 0.704
PU2 0.858
PU3 0.860
PU4 0.808
Satisfaction SAT1 0.838 0.860 0.867 0.905 0.704
SAT2 0.872
SAT3 0.838
SAT4 0.806
Ubiquity UBQ1 0.897 0.862 0.862 0.916 0.783
UBQ2 0.877
UBQ3 0.881

Correlation matrix and square root of the AVE

ATT 0.839              
CON 0.697 0.862            
CONTX 0.683 0.580 0.821          
CUI 0.746 0.666 0.702 0.888        
PEU 0.616 0.559 0.574 0.639 0.759      
PU 0.717 0.614 0.681 0.747 0.681 0.839    
SAT 0.622 0.660 0.552 0.683 0.545 0.563 0.839  
UBQ 0.645 0.562 0.594 0.652 0.496 0.576 0.518 0.885

Heterotrait–monotrait ratio

CON 0.826              
CONTX 0.803 0.696            
CUI 0.864 0.787 0.821          
PEU 0.764 0.704 0.712 0.791        
PU 0.834 0.726 0.799 0.862 0.841      
SAT 0.716 0.777 0.642 0.790 0.668 0.647    
UBQ 0.749 0.665 0.697 0.755 0.612 0.669 0.594  

Structural model

Hypotheses Path Coefficient (β) t- statistics p-values Decision
H1 CON → SAT 0.457 7.719 0.000 Supported
H2 CON → PU 0.171 3.330 0.001 Supported
H3 PU → SAT 0.192 3.275 0.001 Supported
H4 PU → ATT 0.209 3.513 0.000 Supported
H5 PEU → PU 0.347 6.292 0.000 Supported
H6 PEU → ATT 0.084 1.900 0.057 Not Supported
H7 SAT → CUI 0.326 5.757 0.000 Supported
H8 SAT → ATT 0.177 3.124 0.002 Supported
H9 ATT → CUI 0.351 6.310 0.000 Supported
H10 CONTX → PU 0.309 5.364 0.000 Supported
H11 CONTX → PEU 0.431 6.835 0.000 Supported
H12 CONTX → ATT 0.175 2.904 0.004 Supported
H13 UBQ → PU 0.124 2.885 0.004 Supported
H14 UBQ → PEU 0.239 3.889 0.000 Supported
H15 UBQ → ATT 0.172 4.376 0.000 Supported

Predictive relevance

Endogenous constructs R² Q²
Attitude 0.672 0.418
Continuance usage intention 0.668 0.467
Perceived ease of use 0.366 0.187
Perceived usefulness 0.623 0.388
Satisfaction 0.491 0.303

Effect size

ATT   0.148      
CON       0.042 0.234
CONTX 0.041   0.190 0.129  
PEU 0.020     0.187  
PU 0.045       0.039
SAT 0.055 0.190      
UBQ 0.047   0.058 0.023  


Latent constructs Construct total effect Construct performances
ATT 0.375 62.563
CON 0.232 56.023
CONTX 0.165 56.925
PEU 0.114 56.006
PU 0.170 59.575
SAT 0.400 61.573
UBQ 0.109 62.492

Measurement items

Variables Items Sources
Confirmation (CON) CON1: My experience with using Alipay was better than what I expected Bhattacherjee (2001); Veeramootoo et al. (2018)
CON2: The service level provided by Alipay was better than my expectation
CON3: Alipay can meet demands in excess of what I required for the service
Perceived Usefulness (PU) PU1: The use of Alipay improves my performance in my payment functions Davis, (1989); Ghazali et al. (2018); Hoque and Bao (2015)
PU2: The use of Alipay improves my productivity in payment functions
PU3: The use of Alipay enhances my effectiveness in performing financial transactions.
PU4: I find Alipay to be useful in my daily activities
Perceived Ease of Use (PEU) PEU1: My interaction with Alipay is clear and understandable Davis, (1989); Ghazali et al. (2018); Hoque and Bao (2015)
PEU2: Interaction with Alipay does not require a lot of my mental effort
PEU3: I find it easy to get Alipay to do what I want it to do
PEU4: I find Alipay to be easy to use
Satisfaction (SAT) SAT1: Alipay has met my expectations in making my financial transactions. Nascimento et al. (2018); Veeramootoo et al. (2018)
SAT2. I am pleased with the experience of using Alipay
SAT3: Alipay is efficient in fulfilling my financial transactions
SAT4: Overall, I am satisfied with the use of Alipay
Attitude (ATT) ATT1: Using Alipay would be a good idea Dwivedi et al. (2017); Ghazali et al. (2018); Liébana-Cabanillas et al. (2014a)
ATT2: Using Alipay would be a wise idea
ATT3: I like the idea of Alipay for payment
ATT4: Using Alipay would be a pleasant experience
Continuance Usage Intention (CUI) CUI1: I intend to continue using Alipay Nascimento et al. (2018); Veeramootoo et al. (2018)
CUI2: My intention is to continue using Alipay rather than use any alternative means
CUI3: Alipay is my first choice for making payments
Context (CONTX) CONTX1: Alipay provides service based on my location Cao and Niu (2019)
CONTX2: Alipay provides information based on my environment
CONTX3: Alipay provides information or service based on my status
CONTXT4: Alipay provides information or service based on identity
Ubiquity (UBQ) UBQ1: I can use Alipay anywhere Cao and Niu (2019)
UBQ2: I can use Alipay at any time
UBQ3: In any case, I can use Alipay

Respondents' demographic profile

Descriptions Frequency (%)
Male 219 65
Female 117 35
Educational qualification
Secondary 36 11
Bachelor 118 35
Masters 124 37
Others 58 17
18-30 145 43
31-40 124 37
41-50 38 11
More than 50 29 9
Employee – Private sector 82 24
Employee – Public sector 47 14
Student 118 35
Self-employed 63 19
Others 26 8

Appendix 1

Table AI

Appendix 2

Table AII


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Corresponding author

Abul Khayer can be contacted at: