China Payments Research

The versatile internet powerhouse Alibaba group is now sitting on the goldmine of big data and is innovatively monetizing it through internet finance. This time Alibaba Group's online payment system Sesame Credit applies the cutting edge big data-based credit rating system in partnership with Luxembourg's Consulate General in Shanghai for a launch of a credit-based visa application service.

Since its launch 3 years ago, popular third party POS payment provdier Square has gained a respectable level of global adoption. Clients have access to 130 currencies in four languages worldwide. Despite the great success, we haven’t seen any presence of Square in China.

China's taxi / ride hailing app sector is heating up again as internet giant backed Didi and KuaiDi Dache are about to launch 1 billion RMB subsidy for premium cars coupon. Not to be outdone, competitor Yidao teamed up with Baidu. The country's leading search engine allows Yidao to embed its chauffeured car service in its map app. 

The US online payment service provider PayPal has big plans for helping merchants and customers worldwide. Earlier this week, it has announced his partnership with the most popular payment card in China UnionPay to provide Chinese cross-border shoppers with an easier way to complete their transactions via UnionPay Online payments. The ability to make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most requested features from Chinese customers.

Alipay has already gotten into transport cards, bill payments and hospitals in China, now it's focused on public services again with local government partnerships.

Rumors abound that Apple has finally reached an agreement with China UnionPay and is rolling out the China version of Apple Pay in April. According to a Bank of China-related Weibo post, April 15th is the day of official announcement and April 28th will be launch day. The timing is close to what was expected, even though there were reports that negotiations were going less smoothly than predicted.

News is that the China International Payment System (CIPS) is ready and selected 20 banks are about to start testing, among which seven are subsidiaries of foreign banks. The new system was developed by PBoC and aims to be a significant improvement on the current way companies make cross-border RMB payments.

There are now 18 million shoppers in China who buy goods from international platforms and have already spent RMB 216 billion doing so, according to Nielsen. The market is constantly growing, boosted by a more affluent middle class and government support. In our Top 10 China Banking Technology Trends report we talk about how China UnionPay extended its cross-border payments expertise to the ecommerce and joined the industry with its Haigou service in 2014. A new entrant to the cross-border e-commerce market is SF Express. SF is one of China's major logistics and delivery companies and relies on an entirely different set of strengths to develop thier business.

Recently CUP announced a cooperation with some of Shanghai’s well-known hospitals to launch an app, where users will be able to perform many of administrative hospital visit procedures on the mobile. This is the first step of CUP’s Modern Hospital plan, aimed to connect major hospitals to its payment solution.

January 30 2015

Payment Companies Struggle

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The total number of payments licenses currently stands at 269. Most of the licensed companies are private and do not disclose their financials, however, some publicly listed corporations have invested in the payment industry and a peek into their most recent annual reports allows us to know a bit more about the profitability of the payments industry in China. On one end of the spectrum, Alipay dominates the market and is very profitable. On the other, a prepaid-card company almost went bankrupt in January, which begs the question of how the industry is doing as a whole.

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