Chinese online payment services provider Alipay has signed a deal with China Mobile that will enable China Mobile users in the Zhejiang province to carry out m-payments for items such as new handsets or text message news updates.
The service is going to be officially launched in 2009, following more than a year of internal testing. Alipay has closed a similar deal with another Chinese carrier China Telecom.
In order to make m-payments via Alipay, users will need to link their mobile number to their Alipay accounts and configure their mobile payment service. By sending SMS commands to a specific number, mobile phone users will be able to make transfers and buy goods of up to CNY 200 (approximately EUR 22) per transaction.
The Chinese m-payment market is dominated by UMPay, a joint venture between an inter-bank credit card organisation China UnionPay and mobile operator China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile carrier in terms of subscriber numbers (415 million customers). Since it was launched in 2004, UMPay’s main mobile payment service has reached over 40 million registered users, including inactive accounts.
Three Chinese mobile carriers will launch 3G networks in China in 2009, which is likely to boost the number of people who use their phones to access online services.
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