China Payments Research

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.

Some industry reports and rumors seem to indicate that the Chang Gou company's 'Chang-go' pre-paid payment cards are no longer usable. What does this mean for the industry?

December 12th, 12/12, or Double 12, was Alibaba's sequel to the highly successful Singles Day (November 11th). The difference this time though was the incredible focus on and success of the online-to-offline commerce push.

The new version of the popular Chinese payment app Alipay now supports Apple’s fingerprint touch sensor for account access and payment authorisation instead of a password.

This is part two of a two part series looking at China Unionpay's launch of Android Pay. Part one examined the potential impact of Android Pay on the mobile payment industry. Today we take a look at China Unionpay's business strategy in the mobile payments space as it launches Android Pay. We also answer the question of why China UnionPay would even be interested in having their own mobile payments app in the first place.

The recent annoucement of the tie-up between GlobalCollect and China UnionPay tie-up could be a game changer for China UnionPay's international business.

This is part one of a two part series concerning China Unionpay's launch of Android Pay. Today we take a look at Android Pay's potential impact on the mobile payments industry. Part two will look at China Unionpay's business strategy within the mobile payments space as it launches an Android based mobile wallet.

99Bill, a Chinese payments company, was just acquired by Baidu for RMB 2 billion. While there was no official confirmation from Baidu yet, the rumors started appearing on November 18. As the deal comes through, it will be yet another instance of a tech company moving into online finance. Alibaba through Alipay and Tencent through Tenpay already have payments licenses and operate successfully in the industry. Only Baidu was the last company of the three technology titans without a considerable traction in online finance. Its Baidu Wallet is still in promotion phase and is yet to gain a user base comparable to that of Alipay or Tenpay wallets.

The recent announcement that there are now 190 million Alipay wallet users has confirmed Alipay as a real heavyweight and innovator within the mobile payments industry. What are the barriers for future growth?

Alibaba and Apple were in the same sentence quite a bit this week as rumours floated about a potential Alipay / Apple Pay tie-up. Beyond a potentially very unique name for a new payment service, what would a potential partnership bring to the table for the companies and consumers?

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