Monitise, the wireless payment system company, and the Joint Electronic Teller Services (Jetco) network of banks plan to expand mobile commerce in Hong Kong in a tie-up with communications giant PCCW. Starting in the second half of this year, customers of PCCW's mobile communications unit can recharge, or 'top up', their prepaid voice or data SIM cards directly through their accounts with any of Jetco's 30 member banks, using an application on their smartphones. 'It's immediate, efficient and responsive - a service that reflects the energetic, on-the-go nature of the people in Hong Kong,' Richard Midgett, managing director of PCCW's wireless business, said. According to Monitise, it will allow Jetco member banks to generate more revenue from their customers, who would otherwise buy a new SIM card from a convenience store or other retailer. 'Convenience and simplicity are at the heart of the innovative and collaborative approach we pursue in entering new markets with leading local partners,' Alastair Lukies, the chief executive of London-listed Monitise, said. 'And this deal forms a firm foundation for other payment and commerce services to come in Hong Kong.' The so-called 'Mobile Money' system developed by the British firm, whose backers include Standard Chartered Bank and Visa, enables customers of multiple banks and wireless network operators to conduct secure banking and payment transactions directly from their internet-ready smartphones. Monitise processes more than 10 million transactions a month in Britain. PCCW Mobile and Jetco are the first partners in Hong Kong of Monitise Asia Pacific, a 50-50 joint venture set up in April last year by Monitise and privately held First Eastern Investment Group. 'Half of the mobile market in Hong Kong is prepaid,' Monitise Hong Kong managing director Lam Wai-yee said. 'This equates to 6.5 million prepaid SIM cards requiring some method of topping up.' She said the Monitise system worked in real time, meaning users would have immediate access to the topped-up air time or data plan. Users could also top up the prepaid voice and data plans of their friends and family. Darren Sugden, chief executive of Monitise Asia Pacific, said he expected smaller Jetco member banks to use its information-technology infrastructure to launch mobile-banking services that are competitive with those of larger banks. Juniper Research forecasts the number of mobile banking users worldwide will reach more than 150 million this year. 'We are pursuing separate discussions with HSBC, Hang Seng Bank and other mobile network operators in Hong Kong to bring our solution to their customers,' Sugden said. 'We intend to offer a very broad range of mobile payment and shopping capabilities in Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland.'