China’s leading online payments system Alipay has upgraded its existing e-payments app by adding the capability for subscribers to make payments at physical locations, a further sign of the growing interest among the country’s leading internet and telecoms companies in the mobile payment market.
The relaunched Alipay Wallet app, which also sports a new user interface (pictured), enables Chinese subscribers to store and manage credit cards, gift cards and discount coupons, according to the company blog of parent Alibaba.
The existing app, which enables online transactions via mobile phones, has been downloaded “more than 50 million times” since its launch in 2009, according to the blog.
The upgraded app will initially be available for Android handsets, with an iPhone version to follow soon.
A number of options are available for subscribers to make physical payments via the app, including transferring funds via the internet, through barcode recognition, QR codes and “sound wave payment” which uses the white noise generated by a smartphone to send data to another smartphone which is close by. A few vendors are available who supply the latter kind of technology.
Other leading companies who have also entered China’s mobile payments market include the country’s mobile operators, as well as China Unionpay, the country’s bank card payment system, and equipment maker ZTE.