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HTC to unveil mobile banking phone in Taiwan

2012/06/17 15:40:53

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) Taiwan's HTC Corp. will announce a partnership in mobile payments with a local bank and card companies this week as it seeks to play a larger role in the promising mobile banking industry.

The world's No. 5 smartphone vendor is scheduled to hold a joint news conference on June 19 with Cathay United Bank, EasyCard Corp. and MasterCard International to launch a co-branded card, according to a statement.

The PayPass card will become Taiwan's first innovation to integrate the functions of a credit card and an EasyCard into a micro-sized memory card, enabling mobile payments on the island when it is inserted into the "HTC Incredible E" smartphone.

The Incredible E is a model of Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled phones that support contact-less payments. The market demand for these phones in Taiwan is expected to reach 100,000 units this year as local carriers plan to promote the technology by building a standardized Internet environment.

Handset makers such as HTC, Samsung Electronics Co., Nokia Corp. and Research In Motion have launched NFC-enabled phones, but only a few of the products have been introduced in Taiwan.

In August 2011, HTC signed an agreement with China UnionPay Co. to launch its first NFC phone in China that offers mobile banking services such as remote bill payments and contact-less payments through the country's only credit card network.

Unlike China UnionPay, however, 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.

As a result, HTC has urged Taiwan's government to develop a mobile payment platform by launching mobile banking services in some state-owned banks, which will set an example for the private sector.

According to technology research firm Gartner Inc., the value of worldwide mobile payment transactions will surpass US$171.5 billion in 2012, a 61.9 percent increase from US$105.9 billion in 2011.

Further, the number of mobile payment users will reach 212.2 million in 2012, up 32.2 percent from 160.5 million in 2011, with Asia-Pacific topping all regions in the number of users, followed by Africa, Gartner said.

This also contributes to a high transaction volume, where the two regions combined will account for more than 60 percent of the volume of global mobile payments in 2016, the U.S.-based research firm said.

(By Jeffrey Wu)