China’s Huawei Pay debuts in Russia, as first port of call in global push

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 8:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 11:21pm

Huawei Technologies and China UnionPay have set their sights on international markets, as they prepare to launch Huawei Pay digital wallet technology outside the mainland, going shoulder to shoulder against rival e-wallet services such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

The global push comes as Chinese consumers are increasingly using smartphones to settle in-store payments, with annual transaction value representing nearly half of the nation’s gross domestic product.

UnionPay said in a statement on Friday that overseas services will launch in Russia and other markets along the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

“It is a win-win cooperation between two Chinese companies as we join hands to increase the influence that China wields in the global mobile payment businesses,” said Wang Lixin, a vice-president of UnionPay International, the subsidiary focusing on the company’s international business.

UnionPay, the mainland’s dominant bank-card clearing service provider, has been striving to expand its footprint worldwide after Beijing allowed foreign companies such as Mastercard and Visa into its domestic transaction clearing market.

By teaming with Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, UnionPay is vying for a bigger global payment share, upping its ante with launches of new technologies and promotional campaigns around 168 countries and regions.

Huawei Pay uses biometrics and near-field communication technology to enable in-store payments through Huawei phones.

UnionPay and Huawei formed a partnership to work together on the e-wallet service in 2016.

UnionPay focused on building overseas presence

In Russia, UnionPay has 400,000 point-of-sale terminals that can accept the Quickpass payment modes including Huawei Pay.

China processed 11 times more mobile payments than the US last year, according to consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.

According to Zion Market Research, the global mobile wallet market was valued at US$594 billion in 2016 and is expected to hit US$3.14 trillion by 2022, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 32 per cent.

Presently, PayPal, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Alipay are the established players in the global mobile payment sector.

“Huawei aims to connect the safe and convenient payment technology with every customer of Huawei devices around the world,” said Alex Zhang Pingan, president of the company’s software product line.

In mid 2017, UnionPay played a leading role in issuing a global standard to support the unified payment systems for transactions using the QR code.

EMVCo, a consortium for smart payments that is collectively owned by American Express, Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay, published the first universal version of QR code specifications, a sign that the payment mode has taken a significant step outside the mainland.

Alipay is a unit of Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding and the owner of the South China Morning Post.