China’s crowded mobile payment service industry is getting yet another competitor. Chinese phone maker, Xiaomi, has announced it will partner with Unionpay to provide a “mobile wallet” system for its users.
Xiaomi made the announcement last Thursday, but did not say when the service will be available to customers. According to Xiaomi CEO, Lei Jun, the online payment system will utilize Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to process user transactions.
During test trials last year, Xiaomi mobile wallet users were rewarded for their patronage with interest payments on funds in their accounts. In other words, Xiaomi paid users to try the product.
Xiaomi’s entry into the mobile payment industry comes after a number of competitors have debuted systems of their own. Apple and Samsung introduced mobile wallets this year, but the lion’s share of the Chinese market belongs to Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s TenPay. These giants of the industry have been so dominant, that each has been featured on China’s most watched television show, the Annual Spring Festival Gala.
China’s third-party mobile payment industry has been valued at 16.36 trillion yuan (2.52 trillion U.S.dollars) by research firm Analysys last year.