The most recent Bankcard Consumer Confidence Index (BCCI) in China numbers show a continuing increase in consumer confidence since March 2013. According to the data released by China UnionPay (CUP) and Xinhua News Agency, the BCCI peaked at 86.69 in September; the BCCI has stayed high level for three months. It increased 0.89 compare to the same period in 2012 which is a positive sign that the macroeconomic environment is growing steadily in China, at least in the minds of consumers.
A look at the key players and relationships in China’s mobile payments space
By the end of 2012, there were more than 1.1 billion mobile phone users, and 360 million smartphone users in China representing both strong mobile phone penetration as well as a significant increase in smartphone penetration. With smartphones in the hands of more Chinese consumers, the mobile payment industry in China is nearing its watershed moment – as consumers increasingly use their mobile phones not only as communication devices, but payment tools.
China is already the second largest economy in the world, however, RMB has really not been fully accepted as a payment currency internationally, which most view as a prerequisite to 'RMB internationalization'.
On July 6th, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued 27 third party payment licenses to 27 companies bringing the total of 3rd party payment licenses up to 250. What catches our attention this time is the internet giants Baidu and Sina have both obtained licenses and will focus on online payment and mobile payment as their business scope and likely planning to leverage their huge existing user base.
According to the specific targets for China’s EMV migration set by the PBOC, from January 1st 2015, all RMB settlement cards issued in economically advanced regions should be in the form of financial IC cards; most banks have sped up the issuance of financial IC cards since 2012.
By the end of 2012, the total circulation of IC cards exceed 100 million, growing by 320%, and right now 98% of total POS terminals and 96% of ATMs in the market have already been upgrade to support the financial IC cards. It is expected that the total number of financial IC cards in China will hit 200 million in 2013 and continuously surge to 600 million by the end of 2015.
Recently, Google managed to beat its rivals including Apple and Facebook to buy Waze, an Israeli mobile-navigation startup. Google will pay for more than $1 billion for this relatively unknown company. Similarly in China. One month ago, Alibaba, a global B2B giant, invested about $3 billion into Amap, China’s leading map and local based services provider which made Alibaba Amap’s biggest shareholder. Other China’s internet giants, Tencent and Baidu have also been focusing on their mobile map offerings.
According to China Mobile, China’s largest mobile network operator, its monthly mobile payment transaction value, for the first time, exceeded 10 billion RMB, reaching 11 billion in May – even larger than the total transaction value of 2011.
Since China Mobile launched its mobile payment business in 2009, the number of transaction has rocketed at a staggering rate and it is expected that by the end of 2013 the total transaction value will hit 100 billion RMB. In the future, China Mobile will emphasize more on product innovation and customer services to reinforce its leading position in China’s mobile payment industry.
From the data released by People’s Bank of China for the first quarter 2013, the transaction volume of bankcards has reached to 100.27 trillion RMB, which is a 7.7% increase from the first quarter in 2012. The accumulated credit card issuance reached 343 million, which gives a credit card holding per capita is 0.26.
According to PBOC, at the end of 2013 Q1, China’s bankcard consumption transaction volume and value rose rapidly by 44% and 60%, respectively. Interbank transactions made up the majority of total transaction volume and value – accounting for 56% and 77%, respectively. At the end of 2013 Q1, the total circulation of bankcard in China reached 3.6 billion, increasing by 19% year-on-year, with 3.3 billion debit cards and 343 million credit cards. The average bankcard consumption per person increased by 60% to 4900 RMB.
According to iResearch, the total transaction value of China’s 3rd party online payment in 2013 Q, for the first time, declined slightly from last quarter’s 1,065 billion to 1,018 billion, -4.4% quarter-on-quarter. After the staggering growth over the last ten years, China’s 3rd party online payment market has entered a more mature stage of development. This dip largely resulted from the increasing commoditized and homogenous products and services – 3rd party players need more innovative products to improve their services and boost their revenue in the future.
Alipay is still the biggest 3rd party player, accounting for 48% market share, followed by China UnionPay with 20% market share.
Recently, China UnionPay (CUP) and Xinhua News Agency jointly released the Xinhua • CUP Bankcard Consumer Confidence Index (BCCI) for March 2013. It shows that the BCCI is currently at 87.20, growing by 1% month-to-month and 0.43% year-on-year. Generally, the more consumption expenditure on non-necessities, the better macroeconomic situation and personal income reflected, and the more optimism consumers hold towards the future economic situation and personal income.
Based on the transaction information of bankcard consumption by urban residents, this BCCI reflects the confidence level of the consumers towards macro-economy by analyzing the changes to the structure of the bankcard consumption expenditure (mainly the change in the proportion of non-necessities to total consumption amount). Chinese government’s further push on domestic consumption will continue to drive the steady growth of BCCI.
According to Beijing’s government, the total transaction value of e-commerce in Beijing, one of biggest cities in China, grew by 45% to 550 billion RMB in 2012. Beijing’s e-commerce market is characterized by its high transaction volume, which has prompted half of China's top 10 e-commerce companies set up headquarters in Beijing in often in one of the two national e-commerce industry zones which attract a great number of small and medium e-commerce firms. Beijing’s government expects that its e-commerce transaction value will grow at 22% CAGR and hit 1 trillion RMB in 2015, which will account for 60% of Beijing’s GDP.
Recently, Alipay, China’s largest third-party payment company, released its sound wave payment mobile product, which is the first time that “sound payments” have been commercialized in China. Customers can now pay for goods from the vending machines deployed by Alipay in Beijing’s subway through the sound wave payment.
Last month, China Mobile, the biggest mobile network operator (MNO) in China, and China UnionPay (CUP) unveiled their latest mobile payment product – “Mobile Wallet”- at MWC 2013 (Mobile Word Congress, the world’s premier mobile industry event).
In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal wrote about how although mobile payments are slow to take off in China, telephone or 'fixed-line' payments are actually doing quite well and actually hugely dwarfs mobile payments. When you consider the history of the 5 major banks and their alignment with particular sectors, it's no surprise that the Agricultural Bank of China would be leveraging this kind of business model, but what is interesting is the way that the model completely avoids mobile payments. It's almost as if the bank (industry?) in China is saying 'ok, so no standards on mobile, we'll innovate with what we have.' Which is actually not tremendously different that what we're seeing in other markets where the adoption of a consistent mobile payments standard seems inconsistent at best...
The 2nd Annual eTail Conference was held from 27th to 28th November, 2012 in Shanghai. Kapronasia was invited to attend the event to speak on a few payment related topics along with other industry experts. The conference's topics included e-commerce trends and strategies, cross border shopping challenges, and IT implementation on e-payment.
China Mobile, the biggest mobile network operator in China, continues to grow its mobile payment business which was first launched in 2010. At the end of September 2012, China Mobile had 60 million registered mobile payment users with a total transaction value of reached 25 billion RMB, 2.5 times as much as in 2011.
In 2012, other key players in China’s mobile payment market also expanded their business. At the end of October 2012, the number of China Telecom’s mobile payment users exceeded 8 million; China UnionPay also announced that so far it has 4 million mobile payment users, compared with 2 million in 2011. The data from Alipay (China’s biggest third-party payment company) showed that as of the end of May 2012, Alipay had 10 million users conducting payment through their mobile phone and the number was increasing by about 90,000 every day.
We expect that China’s mobile payment business will grow faster in the future, with the number of mobile users surging to 400 million in 2015.
Kapronasia is pleased to announce the next webinar in our ongoing series covering China's Financial Services Industry. The November 21st webinar will be looking at the current status and future development of China's Credit Card industry. More information on the webinar and information on how to register can be found here.
The webinar is free and open to all.
Kapronasia's latest report looking at the state of China's Prepaid Card Industry is now available on Kapronasia.com under the research report section.
Kapronasia's 3rd Party Online Payment Industry webinar recording is now available in the webinar section of kapronasia.com. Thank you to everyone who attended. We hope you found it useful.
Please keep an eye out for Kapronasia's Q3 and Q4 webinars.
Kapronasia will be hosting a webinar on August 8th, 2012 looking at China's Online Payments market.
The webinar is complimentary and will be looking at aspects of Kapronasia's soon to be released Online Payments Market in China report.
A recording of Kapronasia's Prepaid Cards in China webinar is now available for viewing on Kapronasia.com. To access the recording, click on the webinar link at the top of the website.
Recently, a WTO dispute panel, in response to the recent US complaint, said China is breaking the WTO rules by maintaining CUP as a monopoly supplier for the clearing of certain types of RMB-denominated payment card transactions. The specific areas where the panel determined that China had discriminated against foreign bank card suppliers are that 1) China requires all payment cards issued in China to work with the CUP network and to carry its logo, and 2) China forces all payment terminals to accept CUP network.
If you remember from our previous commentaries, in 2011, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) mandated that any company providing payment products or services be licensed in order to operate. This brought a much needed dose of regulation to what was previously quite an unregulated industry. Since then, 4 rounds of payment licenses have been approved, the last being on June 28th, when another 95 payment companies qualified to provide payment products and services in China.
According to public information on the official website of Jumio, this fast-growing payment and online ID verification company based in California will be announcing additional deals with customers in Asia later this year. This is a signal for the firm’s ambition and interest in entering the Asian online payment markets, among which China is of significant importance.
According to PBOC (the People’s Bank of China), driven by the proliferation of online banking in China, in 2011 the total online payment transaction value reached 700 trillion RMB, with a 33% growth rate.
On June 16th, 2012, China Telecom, one of three mobile network operations in China, announced that its total mobile payment transaction value in 2012 researched 17 billion RMB, already exceeding the total amount of last year.
According to China’s Credit Card Report of 2011, the total number of credit card reached 290 million and the total value of consumption by credit card was 4.1 trillion RMB in 2011, accounting for 22.6% of China’s total retail sales of consumer goods. In recent years, credit card consumption has experienced rapid growth benefiting increased consumer consumption as well as improvements in convenience and security.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s total retail sales of consumer goods reached 18 trillion RMB and the number of online Shopping users reached 194 million. At the same time, in 2011, China’s Online Shopping Market reached 773.6 billion RMB, with a year-on-year growth of 55.3%. The transaction value of China’s Online Shopping Market contributed 4.3% to the total retail sales of consumer goods, continuing to grow in importance to the overall retail sales market.
According to the latest China’s Payment Report from People’s Bank of China, up to 2012 Q1, the total number of bank card in circulation grew 5.2% quarterly to 3.1 billion, reaching about 2 bank cards per person. Among them, the total number of credit cards reached 290 million, an increase of 1.8% from end of 2011Q4.
According to Eguan, a China-based consulting company, the total transaction value of China’s 3rd Party Online Payment market reached 758.3 billion RMB in the first quarter of 2012.
The quarterly growth rate declined because of seasonal factors and the influence of the holiday - especially because online shopping and air travel which accounts for the largest part of the total online payment market; both declined rapidly in the first quarter.
The Chinese mobile payment market is virtually doubling in size every year and is expected to be worth more than US$80 billion with 441 million active users by 2015, according to the latest report from Kapronasia. China has already overtaken the US as the largest smartphone market in the world; the number of mobile payment users will dwarf other markets worldwide.
On March 28, 2012, Trunkbow, a provider of Mobile Payment services in China, announced that it has teamed up with CUP (China Union Pay, the only bankcard switch in China) for the development and deployment of a mobile online-to-offline payment system which will be launch in Q2 2012.