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Secure Transactions News

China to launch NFC standard and projects

Thursday 6 December 2012

PBOC (People’s Bank of China) has announced that it intends to create a national standard.


The mobile payment standard will adopt the international common NFC standard based on13.56 MHz technology. The PBOC gathered together commercial banks, China UnionPay and mobile network operators to establish a mobile payment standard writing team. Already major mobile network operators and financial institutions are announcing project launches.


China Unicom


China Unicom and China Merchants Bank are introducing the Unicom Merchants Bank mobile wallet, a NFC-based mobile wallet service in Shanghai with a national rollout that could ultimately make the service available to all 43 million of the bank's credit card customers.


The service is initially rolling out in Shanghai from December 2012 and enables China Merchants Bank's credit card holders that use China Unicom as their mobile telecoms provider to store their card details in their SIM card-based secure element in their NFC handset. For a start, China Unicom qualified Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II. Customers can then use their phone to make purchases at merchants equipped to process China UnionPay Quick Pass contactless cards — 162,000 merchants in Shanghai are currently equipped with Quick Pass compatible terminals.


A national rollout of the service is set to follow the initial introduction in Shanghai, making NFC payments ultimately available to 43 million China Merchants Bank credit card customers across the country. 109 million people currently use China Unicom's mobile network.


One may notice China Merchants Bank recently launched a mobile wallet in collaboration with HTC (cf. Smart Insights Weekly #12-39), which was using an embedded secure element in HTC One XC or Desire C handsets.


China Mobile


At the same time, China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network operator with around 700 million subscribers, demonstrates its NFC payments platform for the first time on 5 December at its Worldwide Developers Conference. China Mobile positions its wallet as a "multi-application open platform". China Mobile Wallet will use a SIM-based secure element with the Single Wire Protocol (SWP), and will provide support for bank card, Mifare-based transport applications, campus, corporate ID membership card and city card applications.


Banks and enterprises will be able to deploy their own applications on China Mobile's open multi-application platform, and users will be able to download client applications from the platform to install on their mobile phones and as SIM applications. China Merchants Bank, China Construction Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (in which China Mobile owns a 20% stake – cf. SIW #10-11) as well as payments network China UnionPay are all working with China Mobile to introduce NFC payments. China UnionPay says that over 1 million POS terminals support contactless transactions in China.


The project is planned for rollout in February 2013 in 12 provinces in China. Eight handsets from Samsung, HTC, Huawei and ZTE will be supported. NFC phones from Lenovo and Coolpad/Yulong will be added during Q1/2013.It is anticipated the project will be launched on a nationwide scale in H1/2013. China Mobile announced plans to launch NFC commercially in mid-2013 and has a goal of selling 10 million NFC phones and recruiting 3 million users by the end of the year.