China Unicom launches NFC-based mobile wallet

Chinese operator partners China Merchants Bank to provide mobile payment for its subscribers, with Shanghai the first city to adopt the service.

Mobile operator China Unicom is partnering China Merchants Bank to launch a mobile wallet service in Shanghai for near-field communication-enabled phones.

In a post Monday on microblog site Weibo, China Unicom said subscribers can link their China Merchants Bank account to their SIM cards to turn their phones into a mobile wallet.

China Unicom Logo
China Unicom Logo

Consumers will need to register for the service at designated China Unicom branches before they can start using their phones to pay at outlets that have installed China UnionPay's Quick Pass point-of-sale (POS) systems, it said. Participating merchants include Starbucks, Dairy Queen and Watsons, it added.

Shanghai is the first city to adopt the mobile payment system before it is introducted to the rest of the country, according to a follow-up post  by China Unicom.

The mobile operator added China UnionPay plans to increase its POS terminals to 15 million units by end-2012.

China Unicom is not the only Chinese operator working on digital mobile payments. In June, rival operator China Mobile announced a partnership with China UnionPay to collaborate on mobile payments services, including integrating banking details into SIM cards and NFC-based digital wallets.