China UnionPay Is Working On a Square-like Mobile Payment Solution

Square, the mobile payment startup which uses a dongle that attaches to a smartphone to let merchants accept credit card payments via phones, has recently generated lots of buzz. Certainly it has the potential to change the dynamics of mobile payment systems. Apple online store has started selling its readers and it’s also reported that Visa has invested big money into Square.

I recently tweeted about Square on weibo and the tweet has quickly been retweeted and commented by a couple of times. One trusted follower pinged me saying,

My China UnionPay friends has started working on a Square-like project, to bring the similar mobile solution to iPhone 4 users.

For readers who don’t know about China UnionPay (aka, UnionPay or CUP), it is the only domestic bank card organization in China. Founded in March 2002, UnionPay is an association for China’s banking card industry, operating under the approval of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC, central bank of China). It is also the only interbank network in China excluding Hong Kong and Macau, linking the ATMs of some fourteen major banks and many more smaller banks throughout mainland China. (via wikipedia). Basically, it plays a critical role in Chinese banking card industry. Visa’s investment into Square obviously has inspired UnionPay on the new project.

UnionPay is now very active in all sectors of mobile payment industry. Reported by Sina, China UnionPay’s NFC mobile payment solution (13.56MHz) will most likely be adopted as the standard solution across China. And last week, TCL just released its first NFC enabled mobile phone integrated with UnionPay’s solution.