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HTC urges creation of unified mobile payment system in Taiwan

2011/08/10 18:27:42

Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) HTC Corp., the world's fifth-largest smartphone maker, urged Taiwanese financial institutions Wednesday to jointly develop a mobile payment platform, similar to the one found in a smartphone to be launched by the company in China.

HTC signed a deal with China UnionPay Co. on Tuesday to launch a 4-inch Android-based smartphone in China that enables mobile banking services, such as remote bill payments and contactless payments, through the country's only credit card network.

"Our cooperation with China UnionPay is just the beginning, and we believe the mobile payment app will also become a critical application in Taiwan," Steve Wang, associate vice president of HTC's mobile application and software design, told CNA after a press conference held to promote the development of Chinese-language mobile apps.

Unlike China UnionPay, which has 2.6 billion credit and debit cards in circulation in different countries worldwide, Taiwan's financial service companies and banks have not yet jointly established a mechanism that allows users to make mobile payments in different regions around the country, Wang said.

In 2007, some local telecom operators launched contactless payment-enabled smartphones using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

But they have since toned down their enthusiasm for such products due to the high costs of NFC chips and the lack of a unified mobile payment system that makes it difficult for retail outlets to offer the service to customers.

"It's not a problem of hardware manufacturing or technology, but one of who should set the technical standard for making such payments in Taiwan," Wang said.

The HTC executive hopes the government can kick-start the process by launching mobile banking services in some state-owned banks, which will set an example for the private sector.

The number of mobile payment users worldwide will surpass 141.1 million this year, a 38.2 percent increase from 102.1 million in 2010, according to technology research firm Gartner Inc.

Meanwhile, worldwide mobile payment volume is forecast to total US$86.1 billion (NT$2.5 trillion) this year, up 75.9 percent from US$48.9 billion last year.

(By Jeffrey Wu)