On December 11th, 2017, China Union Pay (CUP), together with over 30 commercial banks and payment institutions, launched a new version of its mobile payment APP, QuickPass (云闪付), starting a new battle in the mobile payment industry.
Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay are set to link their national digital payment systems, thereby making it easier to send money between the two countries.
It is quite obvious that Alipay is the largest mobile payments platform in the world, with approximately 400 million registered users. Third-party payment platforms play an integral role in Chinese consumers’ everyday transactions because of the multi-faceted services offered, such as ecommerce and mobile payment transactions.
According to iResearch data released in September 2014, the Gross Monetary Value of China’s third-party online payments reached 1,840.66 billion Yuan (USD $299 billion), with year on year growth of 64.1%.
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 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.
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.
This week, the Internet Banking Union (IBU) was approved by China’s central bank the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) thus creating a 'Digital Union Pay' that may bring cross-platform interoperability to digital payment platforms including Alipay and WeChat Pay. The platform is expected to launch by the end of the year and may bring a big change in the digital payment industry in China.
Meituan-Dianping, the result of the merger of the group buying titans Meituan and Dianping, completed the acquisition of payment company QiandaiPay on the September 27th. The deal is significant in a few ways and demonstrates the current state of affairs in China’s payments industry.
Rumours are swirling that Alibaba’s Taobao will collaborate with UnionPay. While details are still unknown, this partnership is noteworthy as Alibaba's online payments system Alipay and UnionPay have been fierce rivals for the past ten years.
Over the past few years, Alipay, WeChat, and other mobile financial and non-financial platforms have become ubiquitous in China. This ubiquity has led to a fiercely competitive market, so increasingly these companies have begun to look overseas, expanding into foreign markets including Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Although they are tremendously successful domestically, China's large tech players face multiple challenges when expanding abroad including regulation, which has become a real challenge for Tencent in Thailand as of late.