China UnionPay, the country’s online payment and credit card monopoly, will launch an online payment service in the third quarter of next year on Android devices, according to a Want China Times article by Wang Yanhui. Dubbed Android Pay, the service will likely compete directly against the mCommerce platform Apple Pay, which is scheduled for a Chinese launch in early 2015.
Android Pay is going to be quite similar to Apple Pay, in the sense that both are mobile commerce platforms that use NFC technology for transactions and biometric fingerprint recognition for user authentication and security. The development comes on the heels of Apple’s recent announcement that its Chinese App Store will accept UnionPay cards – a concession that suggests Apple hopes to partner with UnionPay in order to facilitate the Chinese launch of Apple Pay early next year.
All of this is occurring in the wake of recent policy changes that have paved the way for foreign credit card companies to do business in China outside of the auspices of UnionPay, and that have allowed China’s giant e-commerce company Alibaba to set up physical points of sale for its online Alipay commerce platform. According to the Want China Times article, Alipay already has 80 percent market share in China’s mobile payment market, with partnerships with smartphone makers Huawei and Meizu – whose embrace of fingerprint-scanning security is clearly paying off here – so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out after Apple Pay and Alipay have jumped into the ring.