China a promising market for payment through mobile phones

August 6th, 2010 - 3:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) China is one the most attractive markets for payments through mobile phones, a global consulting firm said after studying market conditions in five countries, including India.
The report by Arthur D Little (ADL), a management consulting firm, examined current market conditions for mobile financial services in M-BRIC countries (Mexico, Brazil, Russia, India and China), China Daily reported on its website Friday.

It said as mobile financial services are experiencing a global surge, the world’s total mobile payment transaction volume is to reach about $280 billion by 2015.

Currently, only 32 million people in M-BRIC use these types of services, with 20 percent of them in China.

The number of users is expected to reach 290 million in the five countries by 2015, accounting for 10 percent of their population. These users are expected to conduct a total of 20 billion transactions in 2015, with 6.9 billion in China.

China’s mobile phone users topped 800 million in the first half of 2010, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

A variety of players, such as mobile network organizers, independent service providers and banks, have already deployed a variety of technologies.

Competition between telecom operators and banks for a dominant role in the new industry may also thwart the development of mobile payments in China, Cao Fei, an analyst from research firm Analysys International said.

China’s biggest mobile operator, China Mobile, said in March it paid 39.8 billion yuan ($5.8 billion) for a 20 percent stake in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank as part of its plan to develop mobile banking and other services. The move provides a model for other operators and banks, according to the bank.

However, in terms of technology, the market here is still premature for advanced technologies for mobile financial services, such as NFC (near field communication) and RF-SIM (radio frequency SIM), the report said, adding that the rollout requires expensive POS devices.

Existing technology on the market, without an immense price tag, can be used to address China’s rural areas. Such a network could be quickly and cheaply deployed to provide an SMS-based mobile payment system in remote areas, said the report.

Founded in 1886, Arthur D. Little is the world’s first professional management consulting firm.

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