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Tapit inks joint-venture deal with Chinese m-commerce player

A new joint venture between Australian NFC technology startup Tapit and Chinese mobile commerce company 99 Wuxian is poised to 'revolutionise' Chinese m-commerce and offline media.

Australian near-field communication (NFC) technology startup Tapit Media has inked a joint-venture agreement with Australian-listed Chinese mobile commerce company 99 Wuxian Limited.

Tapit said in a statement today that the joint venture aims to "revolutionise Chinese m-commerce and offline media by integrating [NFC]-enabled interactive offline marketing campaigns with 99 Wuxian's platform".

Although the value of the agreement has not been made public, the Chinese company will own 55 percent of the joint venture under the terms of the deal.

The Australian tech startup's technology platform leverages a range of contactless technology, including NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy, to allow NFC-enabled smartphone owners to tap NFC-enabled objects and get rich content such as video, mobile-optimised pages, and instant app downloads.

While Tapit, headquartered in Sydney, already claims plenty of top-shelf clients, including Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Telstra, and Vodafone, this latest deal could see its technology integrated into the apps of a number of China's largest banks.

99Wuxian, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, claims that its "business-to-business-to-consumer" m-commerce platform is embedded in the banking applications of nine out of the top 10 Chinese banks.

"This is a landmark deal for Tapit," said Tapit's CEO and co-founder Jamie Conyngham. "99 Wuxian and Tapit will bring market-leading contactless communication to Chinese consumers, which for many will be the first time they have experienced it."

99 Wuxian CEO and executive director Amalisia Zhang said the company believes that Tapit's technology is the "next evolution from QR cides".

"The joint venture makes it possible for people on an NFC-enabled object to become a registered user of 99 Wuxian's m-commerce platform," said Zhang. "It's a very exciting development for 99 Wuxian and our business partners and merchants that we are bringing market-leading Australian technology to China and drive direct B2C growth."

September has already been a busy month for Tapit, with the company claiming its position as one of the IBM SmartCamp Sydney 2014 finalists last week, along with New Zealand's 9 Spokes and Ecocentirc Energy, winning the event's People's Choice Award.

Just yesterday, the company announced an exclusive partnership with NewsLifeMedia that will see its technology used to "enhance" the News Corp Australia subsidiary's mobile offering to advertisers.

In 2012, Telstra also worked with Tapit to enable its prepaid customers to buy call credits at selected phone booths and retail outlets through NFC-enabled smartphones.