The agreement, inked last Friday with the Beijing Municipal Administration and Communications Card Company, is based on Philips' Mifare contactless chip technology but this is compatible with NFC, in accordance with the ISO 14443 A standard for contactless smart cards and readers. So too is the Felica standard from Sony, the other main company behind NFC's early development.
The Beijing authorities will be using Philips technology when the city hosts the Olympic Games in four years' time.
"Contactless access at the Great Wall of China will serve as an important case study for implementation in other venues and events around China, most notably the Olympics," said Derrick Robinson, senior research analyst at IMS Research in a statement.
It is hoped the Great Wall deal will from now on mean better visits for some four million tourists every year, for example by easing queues, and a return for the authorities who hope to see less fraud and cheaper systems maintenance as a result.
Tony Hallet of Silicon.com reported from London.