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.
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.
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 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?
Continuing along their international expansion strategy, China UnionPay launches Quickpass in South Korea. Could AndroidPay be next?
Happy holidays from the whole team at Kapronasia! We're off this week as well and will be back online January 5th. We're looking forward to an exciting 2015 kicking off with our annual 2015 Top-10 trends in fintech research Reports. Details soon and hope to have you there for the webinar!
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.
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.
Alipay is making headway on its promises to expand globally and has now entered into an agreement with several foreign transportation card firms, which will allow Alipay users to buy transport service cards through the Alipay app as they travel abroad.
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.
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.
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?
Beating Apple by nearing a week, on September 2nd, 2014, Alipay and Huawei announced the launch of their fingerprint payment service. The technology will be first shipped on Huawei’s Ascend Mate 7 phone, which was presented by the electronics giant on September 3rd.
QR code payment in China, suspended by PBOC on March 14th, 2014, have just been restarted by the Postal Savings Bank of China.
At the start of this month, leading global supplier of information and communications technology (ICT) Huawei had joined the board of Europe’s 5G Infrastructure Association.
According to PBoC 2013 Annual Report, the payments industry in China is growing fast, 17% in 2013 alone and 25% on average in the last five years.
The latest payment report released by PBOC shows that by the end of 2014Q1, the cumulative number of bank cards issued reached 4.39 billion. Debit cards are still the most widely used card type, accounting for approximately at 3.97 billion.
After setting up its strategy as “All in Mobile E-Commerce” at the beginning of this year, Alibaba has been gradually building up its Online2Offline business - now focusing on healthcare.
According to the Chinese Financial Certification Association, in the major 35 cities of China only 3% of electronic (Internet and mobile) banking clients use Near Field Communication technology as a payment method. With all the convenience of the NFC technology it seems strange that the trend didn’t pick up yet.
The latest financials from Tencent Group shows that overall growth stayed strong in the first quarter of 2014 as revenue hit RMB 18.4 billion, 78% of which were value-added services. E-commerce however suffered as revenues declined 24% as compared to Q4 2013. Tencent indicated that the lagging performance was a seasonal factor; in addition Tencent has recently re-focused its e-commerce strategy.
As known, Tencent setup a partnership with Jingdong this year, acquiring 15% of the online retailer which also holds QQ wanggou and Paipai. The acquisiton is an indication that Tencent is serious about e-commerce, but they still seem to be searching for the right business model. Yet with Alibaba listing soon, Tencent will have to show rapid returns on their investment in order to keep a increasingly impatient set of investors happy. Tencent's e-commerce challenges must now be confronted to stay ahead of the game.
After the PBOC’s suspension of QR code payments and virtual credit cards, they have begun soliciting comment on draft guidelines on “Payment Institutions Network Payment Business Management Approach” (provisional).
After what seems like forever, on February 18th, the regulators gave us a milestone reform for cross-border trade.
Over the past weekend, Alipay announced that it processed about US$150 billion in mobile payments in 2013 which is potentially more than PayPal and Square combined. PayPal cleared US$27 billion in 2013 and Square's number is not public, but likely far less than even PayPal's.
That's a huge number and makes Alipay the largest mobile payments platform in the world. It wasn't really a question of if it would happen, but when. With over 300 million users and 100 million mobile users, Alipay's mobile payment growth has tremendous market scale which is part of the reason for the success of their Yu'ebao investment product that just seems to keep growing and growing...
The Alipay Wallet 7.6, which was rolled out on October 29, 2013, provides over 30 functions and services. It is reported that the launch of this new Alipay Wallet has extended its services in new areas and provides some significant benefits to consumers. Among these services, the most innovative are “payment with soundwave technology”, “transferred payment with emotional feelings”, “payment by snapping payment cards”, “Official Accounts” and “loading money into on-purpose campus card”.
The application of soundwave technology in Alipay Wallet with smartphones allows consumers to make payments conveniently even when there is no 3G or Wi-Fi signal, such as at subway vending machines. By holding the phone close to the payment receiver on the vending machine, the phone can authenticate and authorize payment via sound.
Alipay has already setup relationships with eleven vending machine operators that cover about 90% of the Chinese market. At the end of 2013, this soundwave technology will be used in over 50% subway vending machines.
In addition, soundwave technology can also be used to purchase movie tickets. After paying for movie tickets from Alipay wallet, consumers can get tickets by releasing noise generated by smartphones which will be recognized by ticket machines in the cinema.
To provide a more ‘humanized experience’, the Alipay Wallet 7.6 allows users to use personalized icons and voice messages when transferring payments. Unlike a payment that might come across saying ‘You have received 100RMB’, users can now choose from abundant personalized icons or leave voice messages with the receiver when conducing payment transmission. This may not seem that interesting, but in China, a lot of business is conducted over instant messenger and phone chat where emoticons and electronic signals of feeling are important, it does add an interesting element. However, it should be noted that the new function only supports payments within Alipay.
The new Alipay Wallet has an enhanced “code scanning” function. In addition to existing scanning QR codes, bar code, tracking numbers, it offers service of scanning bank payment cards. This new function can distinguish information automatically including issuing banks, types of banks, card numbers, which make it convenient for users to transfer money. In addition, it adds function to pay off credit card bills automatically. Currently users can use Alipay Wallet to inquire credit card bills of 14 different banks. In addition, as long as the automatic payments function is active, Alipay Wallet will pay off credit card bills automatically 5 days before the deadline and will inform users by free text message.
Official Accounts connects consumers directly with merchant accounts through the app for services. Basically the “Official Accounts” includes around 10 banks, such as Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Merchant Banks (CMC), Agriculture Bank of China (ABC) and etc; three most famous telecom operators of China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom; and other merchants such as, McCafe, One Foundation, hospitals etc.
Within banking accounts, Alipay Wallet offer users’ inquires into balance, inquiries on account transaction details and inquiries on bank outlets. From telecom operators’ accounts, customers can inquire their bills and alternate mobile phone packages. Moreover, Alipay Wallet’s cooperation with McCafe, hospitals and other merchants, make it convenient for customers to recoup the coupons, pre-register, register in hospitals, as well as enjoy other services.
Another new feature of Alipay Wallet is for university students. Instead of finding a recharge machine, students can load money into their 'on-purpose' campus card directly by Alipay Wallet. There are currently around 20 universities in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Suzhou, cooperate with Alipay for this service.
The new Alipay wallet 7.6 is an interesting development. Many of the functions make a lot of sense to just about anyone around the world - like the soundwave technology. The others, like the 'emotional payments', might seem a bit different, but are very tailored to meet the needs of the local users which has been one of Alibaba's keys to success across all of its platforms and it's where foreign players have often struggled in the past.