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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.

The RuPay is an initiative by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It is intended to provide a domestic alternative to the global MasterCard and Visa card payment systems. It will also allow NPCI to consolidate various payment systems in India. It is directly comparable to its Chinese counterpart, China UnionPay, which has been highly successful and is a world leader in payment systems.

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?

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.

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.

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.

The recent wave of Alipay partnerships with merchant acquirers has spanned the globe. With the common goal of letting Chinese tourists pay with Alipay, one of their favorite payment methods, Ant Financial has partnered with Wirecard in Germany, Ingenico in France and First Data in the US.

With November 11th right around the corner, we will soon be in the midst of the China's largest shopping day of the year. The real question will be what happens this year. We know that e-commerce sales will be huge, but will Alibaba be able to beat their 91.2 billion RMB ($18.8 billion) 2015 singles day turnover and set another global record for the largest one day GMV sales?

Alipay, the most popular mobile payment app in China, has launched a brand new feature at the end of September called “Everywhere”. This new function can help Alipay users to find people nearby who may provide certain services you want. So if you need a plumber, you can use "Everywhere" to find one near you. 

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.

Over the past year, China's National Development and Reform Commission had been defining and refining the new payment card merchant fees. These came into effect on September 6th. The requirements have a range of implications, and are impacting the industry already.

Xiaomi, the well-known Chinese technology focused electronics company, has announced the launch of its payment services “MI Pay”, which is in cooperation with China Union Pay, the biggest Bankcard Association in China. The official launch date is September 1st. After Apply pay, Samsung Pay, Xiaomi is yet another mobile company joining the competition with Alipay in the third-party payment industry in China.

Indian messaging app Hike raised $175 million in funding from global investors this month. This round of funding valued the messaging app at $1.4 billion, cementing Hike's entry into India's coveted "tech unicorn" club. Even so, it was one of Hike's new shareholders that lifted more eyebrows. Tencent, the owner of WeChat and China's most popular messaging app, were among the investors throwing their bets behind Hike. Kapronasia takes a look at possible advantages of this new relationship. 

The recent announcement that Canadian merchants will now accept UnionPay’s mobile QuickPass payment, along with Ingenico partnering with Alipay to provide mobile payments in Europe, highlight that huge strides are being made by both UnionPay and Alipay to infiltrate Western markets and that these efforts are being supported by the Western payments industry.

On Aug 12th 2016, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued license extensions to the first group of companies in China to ever receive a third party payment license five years ago.  It was a long wait for the 27 firms. Their licenses, including those of industry giants Alipay and China UnionPay, had expired 78 days ago. 

Ant Finance, the most valuable Fintech startup in China, announced their plan to launch another payment app based on Virtual Reality (VR) technology. It will allow customers to make payments when they are using VR.

At Lendit’s China conference in Shanghai this week, Kapronasia learned that Chinese digital payments giant Alipay is close to rolling out its new facial recognition software to the public. The lender – whose payments system holds about 48 percent of China’s online payments market share last year – has already made the feature available for employees, and plans to open it up to the public in the next few months, according to a source from Ant Financial. To pay with a selfie, Alipay users use a camera installed on the online payments platform to take a picture of themselves and the platform uses biometric methods to verify their identity. Ant Financial, which runs Alipay, is an affiliate of Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holdings.

China is pushing its card industry towards tokenization as it seeks to make digital payments more secure on the Mainland. Banks and payment service providers (PSP) are required to use tokenization to process transaction data by the end of this year, according to Chinese business publication National Business Daily, citing a notice from China’s central bank.

Ant Financial will purchase 20 percent of Thai payments and online finance provider Ascend Money, with the right to increase its stake to 30 percent, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website. 

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.

Apple has turned to the mobile payments industry after the smartphone business has slowed down, as a way to increase revenue streams. Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment and digital wallet service, has been very successful in the United States. However, Apple Pay has been struggling to tap into international markets due to technical problems, the lack of user adoption, and resistance from banks.

Starting from only 18 employees and a small B2B platform, Alibaba has become an e-commerce giant in China and already expanded into many other industries. But Alibaba has no plans to stop, Alibaba is now working on an even bigger ambition: to insert itself into ever part of our everyday lives.

On May 20th, Samsung Pay and Alipay announced their intention to merge their online payment businesses. Now, users can import their Alipay account into Samsung Pay and with just one swipe, users can enable Alipay’s QR code. The whole process can be completed within 2 seconds, even if your screen is locked. This is a huge step for Alipay, since the new user experience increases convenience and eliminates the normal steps of finding the app and waiting for it to load. Alipay’s new process drastically decreases the inconvenience of using the QR code as a payment method. But it begs the question, why would Samsung betray UnionPay to partner with Alipay?

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. 

The PBOC-backed 'Payments Clearing Association of China' published its annual report in May. We talked about some of the digital payments statistics from the report in our previous commentary, but the report also features ranking for China acquiring market, which is even more significant because such data has never been officially published before.

The Annual Payments Report by the Payment and Clearing Association of China was published on May 19th and showed the continuing growth in payment transactions in China. The total amount of online payments reached RMB 2,042 trillion, spread between commercial banks and payment service providers (PSPs).

Global payments operator Fortumo and India’s Reliance Communications (RCOM) have launched direct carrier billing where RCOM’s customers can purchase digital content and games by charging the payments to their mobile bill or mobile prepaid account. Reliance customers can now enjoy a host of digital entertainment content on the move on their mobile devices, across movies, music, games and live TV, starting from just Rs. 10 (15 cents) for 1 day of access, all by paying through their mobile postpaid bill and mobile prepaid account.

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