Eighteen Chinese banks, card association China UnionPay, China Telecom, China Unicom and a range of handset manufacturers and industry suppliers have formed an alliance in a bid to create standards and a business model for the introduction of a single, open platform that can be used by businesses throughout China to offer NFC and mobile payments services.
Chinese bank card association China UnionPay has announced the formation of the Mobile Payment Industry Alliance, a new organisation designed to enable both standards and a business model for the introduction of NFC and mobile payments services to be established in China.
The founding members of the alliance include eighteen banks, mobile network operators China Unicom and
China Mobile China Telecom — but not China Telecom China Mobile — mobile phone manufactures including Nokia and Lenovo, chip card manufacturers, terminal operators, systems integrators and academics.
The aim, says China Unionpay, is "to create a harmonious and sound industrial environment for the development of the mobile electronic business in our country."
"The founding of the Mobile Payment Industry Alliance will break the barriers in different industries including the payment, communication, chip, intelligent card and electronic industries, etc. and form a platform for communication and close coordination," the card association explains. "Parties of the Alliance will jointly promote the intelligent card mobile payment business adopting the financial account and the international standard on contactless communication defined by the ISO."
The members of the alliance will work together to create a single, open mobile payment platform that will enable "users from various industries such as the bus, metro, water, electricity and gas, cinema, petrol, hospital, commercial retail and many more" to offer payments services to their customers.
"The Industry Alliance integrates the consumer's need, operator's network capability, bank's credibility as well as seller's marketing ability to forge a mobile electronic business circle that blends both remote and short range payment," says China UnionPay.
China UnionPay and China Unicom have been working closely together on the introduction of near field communication-based payments services since November 2009. China UnionPay is testing NFC and mobile payments services in six cities and regions and, in February, China Unicom announced plans to introduce commercial NFC services later this year.
Until recently, however, China Mobile has been pushing its own RF-SIM technology and had announced the beginning of a commercial roll out for the technology in February. Last month, though, China Mobile acknowledged publicly for the first time that it was having problems and announced that it was also exploring the idea of supporting NFC technology too.