China UnionPay New Mobile Payment Service Targets Alipay, Tenpay

  • Service allows users to pay with their smartphones in stores
  • Alibaba Group controlled 83% of nation's mobile payment market

China UnionPay Co., the nation’s largest payment and clearing network, joined with more than 20 lenders to introduce a new mobile payment service in a bid to win back market share from third-party payment leader Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Alipay affiliate.

Using so-called near-field communication technology, UnionPay’s service lets users pay for purchases by tapping their smartphones with pre-stored bank card information on a device at cash registers, according to product brochures handed out at an event in Beijing Saturday that was attended by officials including People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Fan Yifei and UnionPay President Shi Wenchao.

China’s mobile-payment transactions jumped 134 percent to 22.6 trillion yuan ($3.5 trillion) last year, central bank data show.

Alipay affiliate controlled 83 percent of China’s third-party mobile payment market in 2014, while Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Tenpay held 10 percent, according to market-research firm iResearch.

— With assistance by Aipeng Soo

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