China’s banking industry staked its claim for a slice of the country’s lucrative mobile payments sector with the launch of Mobile QuickPass, an app backed by 30 commercial banks based on UnionPay’s longstanding mobile payment platform.

The app, which can be linked to accounts held with financial providers across the country, allows peer-to-peer (P2P) cash transfer between accounts held with different banks and enables NFC and QR code-based retail mobile payment services.

In a statement, UnionPay said the app would apply “advanced technologies” including big data, artificial intelligence and IoT to “make retail payment convenient”. It also confirmed the People’s Bank of China (PBC) had been consulted during its development.

The system adopts the same QuickPass branding used in UnionPay’s mobile payment system since 2013. The previous iteration of the brand allowed users to make retail payments through a virtual version of a UnionPay card issued by one of 20 partner banks and did not support P2P.

Mobile QuickPass’ launch is a major move from the country’s mainstream financial sector to compete with e-commerce giants Ant Financial and Tencent, which operate China’s dominant mobile payment brands Alipay and WeChat Pay.

“The rapid development of China’s payments industry over the past few years has played a crucial role in promoting financial innovation and sustaining rapid economic growth,” deputy governor of the PBC, Fan Yifei, said.

Discussing the bank’s role in the system’s creation, he added the organisation was: “devoted to creating a level playing field for competitors in the payment industry by implementing strict regulations, preventing financial risks, and facilitating consumptions so as to better support the real economy and the inclusive financial system.”