November 27, 2014
Payments industry is again buzzing with the possibility of Android based payment system becoming a reality in China. China UnionPay is all set to launch an Android based Chinese payment app on the lines of Apple pay by utilizing fingerprint verification and Near Field Communication (NFC) to process payments. It is expected to be launched in the third quarter 2015.
Union Pay had earlier participated in formulating the Apple Pay standards and is familiar with the process and would also play a role in launching Apple Pay in China by mid-2015. It now wants to expand its scope to Android devices. Union Pay has also begun talks with some of the largest handset/POS/device makers in China such as Lenovo and Coolpad for supporting their platform. Both the manufacturers have indicated support for a payments platform on their high end smartphones in China. The only significant difference with Apple Pay has been the security recognition modules, where union pay will have a lot more partners to produce them.
Union Pay is the largest issuer of credit and debit cards in China and this move would not just enable it to increase its share in the increasingly competitive mobile-payment market in china but also take on the Alipay, the current market leader in China.
1) TechCrunch wrote earlier this month that Apple added UnionPay, China’s Largest Bankcard Network, To App Store Payment Options. Clearly Apple is trying hard to position itself in China (via Alipay, UnionPay) and UnionPay is playing it well by taking time and having other options like Android Pay. But online is not where UnionPay's strength lies. It is the retail checkout where it has dominance which means proximity payments is where Apple Pay will have Android Pay and quite face to face.
2) I looked up the Google Play store and found it very interesting that UnionPay already has 7 apps published on the store. Its for various purposes from banking to commerce.