Leading Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced its cooperation with bankcard association China UnionPay (CUP) for mobile payment on Thursday, bringing the company one step closer to launching its Mi Pay mobile payment system.
According to the announcement, Xiaomi and CUP will jointly design Mi Pay based on Xiaomi smartphones, and will provide CUP card users with a faster and safer mobile payment experience.
“We will work to give users a fluent mobile payment experience with Mi Pay. We are now communicating with CUP and major banks on the details,” Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun wrote on his Sina Weibo.
Lei appreciates CUP’s leading role in the payment industry. He thinks that near field communication (NFC)-based mobile payment is the safest and fastest choice, representing one of the major directions of smartphone development.
Lei is also using this as an opportunity to promote Xiaomi’s new flagship Mi5, which “supports fully-functional NFC”.
Xiaomi has made a lot of progress building its own mobile payment system. The company purchased a majority stake in a Chinese payment firm in February 2016, and it has cooperated with CUP to ensure Xiaomi smartphone users have access to CUP’s cloud-based Quick Pass service, which can make it more convenient for users to make online and offline payments.
Xiaomi has a big user base for Mi Pay. According to a January report by American research firm IDC, the company made 70.8 million shipments in 2015. A Tuesday report by another research firm, TrendForce, said Xiaomi made 16 million shipments in Q1 2016.
Xiaomi is the second Chinese smartphone maker to enter the payment market after Huawei. Nevertheless, its biggest challenge comes from China’s existing payment giants Alibaba’s Alipay and WeChat Payment. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay having also been launched in China may also pose a threat.
When Mi Pay will be launched has yet to be confirmed.
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