A few days ago, the upstart Chinese manufacturer of android-based smartphones Xiaomi launched a public beta of their new online money-market fund. With Chinese tech companies furiously investing in and creating platforms bundling key products and services together, could we see Xiaomi competing directly with Alipay and Wechat in the near future?
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.
So over the past week, the internet has been aflutter with talk of Bitcoin and China again. A March 10th Goldman equity research note entitled 'The Future of Finance' offered a few comments about Bitcoin in China seem to have reignited the debate about Bitcoin's place in the Middle Kingdom. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, we felt we needed to set a few of them straight.
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.
The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) released its annual banking industry statistics for 2014. Banks accumulated RMB 172.3 trillion in assets, up 13.87% since 2013. The Big 5 large commercial banks had a slower growth rate than the joint-stock commercial banks, 8.25% and 16.50% respectively.
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.
The recent PBOC annual Payments Industry Overview report shows plenty of impressive data and the main message that comes through is that "everything is growing". However, not all growth is the same and the numbers for credit cards industry are especially interesting.
One of the latest ads from Huawei, the large Chinese manufacturer of networking equipment, is a rather disturbing wrapped up ballerina's foot. While the idea is good, the advertisement shows that there's still a gap in understanding between tech and the consumer.
China’s capital markets are maturing. Futures and margin trading had already been launched, but this week we saw equity options for the first time in China. The new derivatives trading commenced with big fanfare, with main regulators as well as top government officials present at the opening ceremony, emphasizing the importance of the event.
2014 was a good year to be a bank in China, but apparently an even better one to be a brokerage. The latest data from the Securities Association of China shows that 2014 total income for the industry was 260.3 billion RMB (Chinese Yuan), up 63% from 2013.
Personal credit ratings in China have never been a pretty subject. Without a centralized credit database accessible to all, getting accurate credit information has proved challenging for any company in China providing loan products. With Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba, launching Sesame Credit, we felt it was worth taking a second look at what might be happening here.
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.