China UnionPay, the government-owned clearing house for credit card transactions, is reportedly planning to launch an Android payment app at the back end of 2015, in a move to head off the competitive threat from Alibaba’s Alipay unit, among others.
According to Marketwatch, which quoted a number of local media outlets, the app is still under development but expected to hit the market in the third quarter of next year.
The app is, somewhat obviously, called Android Pay.
The card company has contacted leading vendors Coolpad and Lenovo about including the app on their devices.
UnionPay began talks with Coolpad at least one month ago and has been “quite active” on the initiative, according to CoolPad vice president Cao Jingsheng. One of the company’s high-end phones will support an Android payment app next year, he said.
In another leg to its payment strategy, Unionpay has been working with Apple Pay, which may debut its NFC-based payment service in China in March 2015.
In addition, Chinese consumers can now make purchases in the App Store using UnionPay credit and debit cards.
UnionPay has a virtual monopoly over the issuing of credit and debit cards in China.