Shanghai’s subway system has announced that passengers will soon be able to pay fares through Alipay by binding their account with the Shanghai Metro app. According to media, the Shanghai Shentong Metro Group has set up a joint venture with UnionPay and Alipay (in Chinese). During the past year, a number of cities have made deals with these two payment services.

Alipay’s service which relies on scanning QR codes is already available for public transportation systems in Hangzhou and Xi’an. The service will be available in Shanghai from January 20th this year. But WeChat pay hasn’t been resting either. According to media reports, fare payments through WeChat are available in 23 cities so far.

Yu Guangyao, the party secretary and chairman of Shanghai Shentong Metro Group showcasing the new payment method. (Image credit: Shanghai Metro)

Jin Tao, director of the information center of the Shanghai Shentong Subway group, said that during the next stage they will continue to introduce other means of payments. The Shanghai subway system does not support WeChat payments for the time being but the service is being tested, Jin revealed.

Once the subway card readers are upgraded they will be able to accept multiple modes of payment. This includes NFC (near-field communication) technology, which has already started trials on Beijing’s subway lines. In the future, the payment system will be adjusted into a single platform that includes more cities, according to the report.

Alipay and WeChat Pay have already split China’s mobile payments market into a duopoly. The next frontier is public transportation. According to Tencent founder and CEO Pony Ma, the public transport system is the next high frequency and high-stickiness area of growth.

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.

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