Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has entered China’s booming mobile payments market with Mi Pay, a contactless payments service running on China UnionPay’s network with support from 20 local banks and six mass-transit systems in the country.
Mi Pay initially is available only on Xiomi’s newest handset, the Mi 5, which features NFC, plus an embedded secure element, tokenization and fingerprint verification for security, the company said in a Sept. 1 press release.
Beijing-based Xiaomi is one of the first handset makers to launch a mobile payments service that supports both bank cards and transit-payment cards, the company said in the release.
Mi Pay users can link up to eight payment cards to the service from banks including Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Merchants Bank. Xiaomi did not disclose which cities’ mass-transit systems will accept Mi Pay, but the electronics company tested the service on public transportation systems in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Chinese consumers have broad access to mobile payments, which totaled more than $235 billion last year. Alibaba Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat social-messaging service that enables payments are the two dominant providers, and Chinese handset maker Huawei earlier this year launched its own NFC-based payments service, Huawei Pay.
Foreign companies also are vying for a piece of the action.
PayPal has a presence in China, while Apple Inc.’s Apple Pay made its debut in China in February of 2016, followed within a month by Samsung’s Samsung Pay. Canadian contactless payments provider Mobeewave was the latest to signal an interest in China by forming a partnership in July with Alliance Development Group to explore opportunities.