China UnionPay Sets A 2013 Nationwide Mobile-Payments Goal

- Updated January 17, 2012

China UnionPay has enabled more than 3.8 million merchants to accept Near Field Communication-based payments as part of a push to expand mobile-payments acceptance in China, a spokesperson for the card organization tells PaymentsSource.

The company has enabled point-of-sale terminals in more than 20 provinces to accept NFC payments, according to the spokesperson. China UnionPay’s goal is to cover all of China with NFC and other forms of mobile payments by 2013 to help create a cashless society, she says.

Under the expansion, UnionPay is setting up hundreds of thousands of noncontact payment terminals in restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, hospitals and clothing shops, the spokesperson says.

UnionPay in 2010 implemented a text message-based mobile-payments model across its point-of-sale infrastructure in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Tianjin, Hunan, and 21 other provinces and cities. It also has established a card-based microSD payment model in Shanghai, Shandong, Ningbo, Hunan, Sichuan, Shenzhen, Yunnan, Beijing, Hubei and nine other provinces.

Chinese mobile-payment sales volume reached 2.6 billion yuan (US$407 million or 298 million euros) in 2010, up 300% from 650 million yuan in 2009, according to a report from China Electronic Commerce Research.

China’s mobile-payment market relies on four different standards. They include the dual-interface card, NFC technology and microSD cards, all based on 13.56-megahertz contactless technology; and the RF-SIM card based on the 2.4- gigahertz technology. China’s Ministry of Industry, the People’s Bank and the National Standard Committee established a joint working group in September to develop a single mobile-payment standard (see story).

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