China Payments Research

The People’s Bank of China (the PBOC) started issuing the Payment Business License since May 2011 to non-banking institutions. Up until March 2015, the PBOC had issued 270 payment licenses.

Ant Financial is well established as the largest fintech in China. These past two years have been excellent for the company as they reached 450 million users with an average expenditure of 16,000 RMB through the Alipay platform. They recently started to make use of Alibaba’s acquired controlling stake of company Lazada in Singapore, which has given them access to most of the SEA market. In addition, Ant bid for Moneygram in the United States, and funded bike sharing service Gobee.bike’s launch in Hong Kong (being the first bike sharing company of the kind launched in HK). However, the important question here is: what awaits the company in the near future? Three words. Diversification, internationalisation and experimentation.

QR-codes have been a boon for China's 3rd Party Payment providers, but due to QR-Code standardization and the launch of China's Online Settlement Platform for Non-Bank Payment Institutions, more colloquially known just as Wanglian, QR-codes could now be the payment giants' biggest challenge.

On the last day of March 2017, Wang’lian (Internet Payment Union) started its trial operation after one year of preparation. The first group of companies that have joined the platform include: Wechat Pay, China Merchants Bank, Bank of China, and Chinabank Payment. The platform will effectively cut the 3rd party payment networks of Ant Financial and Tencent, and is likely the most important payment industry development this year, and it may not bode well for China's dominant digital payment companies. 

Last week, at The Fifth Session of the twelfth National People's Congress in China, Mr. Zhou Xiaochuan, the chief governor of People’s Bank of China (PBOC), encouraged the development of Fintech during the press conference among all topics about finance reform and development in China.

In its recent mobile app update, Alipay has put its QR code for accepting payments away from the main screen to a separate button on the top right corner. This seemingly small technical change has operational and business implications too.

Last Friday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, issued a new notice for the third party payment companies which will be enacted on April 17th, 2017 and will require the payment companies to deposit around 20% of the held customer fund to specified general bank accounts.

The first batch of Chinese credit scoring companies has been waiting for their licenses for 24 months now. What are the reasons for the delay and how has the recent Alipay Circles incident affected the formal launch of the industry?

NFC standards have been agreed and in place for just over 5 years in China, but have made little headway. On Monday this week, China UnionPay launched their own QR code solution. China UnionPay was one of NFC's primary supporters, so this shift to QR could mean the end of NFC in China.

Since the start of this year, there have been many news about the set up of “Wang’Lian”, which means Non Bank Internet Payment Union, in China.

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