Half a year ago we heard Chinese authorities planned to allow independent payments services to process online payments for cross-border e-commerce transactions. Now seventeen e-payments services have been authorized by Chinese State Foreign Exchange Administration to join the trial program (in Chinese).

The seventeen are located in five regions, Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Zhejiang province. Major players in e-payment sector, Alipay, Tenpay, UnionPay, Shengpay and 99bill are included.

But it’s not that they can conduct all kinds of payments. Tenpay, the payments service of Tencent, is allowed to conduct payments for goods trading, air ticket purchases and hotels. Alipay is allowed to conduct one more category of payments, tuition fees.

The amount of a purchase order of goods is limited to USD10,000. That for tuition fees, air tickets or hotels is limited to USD50,000.

According to a report released by Alipay, online purchases from overseas more than doubled in China in 2012. Cosmetics, infant food, health products, electronics and clothes are top categories of goods Chinese consumers would like to buy from overseas. As more and more Chinese travel or study overseas, convenient payments services for flights, hotels or tuition are very much in demand.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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