China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network operator, and Chinese bank card association China UnionPay have announced that their NFC payments service is now live in more than fourteen Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou — and eight banks have signed up to make use of the partners' platform.
To use the service, China Mobile subscribers need to acquire an NFC SIM card, available at the carrier's stores, and download the network's newly released mobile wallet app, which is available for Android devices. After linking a bank account to the wallet, the customer is free to make mobile payments at participating merchants equipped with UnionPay QuickPass contactless POS terminals.
Eight banks have already joined the platform, including some of the country's largest such as Bank of China, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and China CITIC Bank. More are expected to sign up to the service, which uses China UnionPay's trusted service management (TSM) platform which is fully integrated with that of China Mobile.
China UnionPay also plans to integrate its TSM platform with those of other Chinese mobile network operators and is working with China Mobile to expand the platform beyond payment cards to include transit cards, social security cards, student cards, access cards, mobile tickets and more.
Su Ning, chairman at China UnionPay, said: "Mobile payments as a new payment method is increasingly changing the way people pay and their consumption habits.
"China UnionPay will continue to deepen cooperation with commercial banks, mobile operators, handset manufacturers and other parties with a view to lead the development and build a harmonious win-win situation in the mobile payment industry."
China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua said: "I believe China Mobile and China UnionPay's cooperation will become the leading mobile payment platform in the industry and an important force."
Both organisations have been working together on NFC projects since June 2012, after signing a partnership deal designed to lead the commercial deployment of NFC payments in one hundred cities across China.