HTC is launching its first NFC phone, the "HTC Stunning" powered by Google's Android operating system, in China sometime later this year. The phone will be an 4-inch, Android-based device, and will support bank card network China UnionPay's mobile payment standard.
The handset utilizes near field communication technology, which allows users to complete payments through banks' point-of-sale (POS) machines. The smartphone supports various functions, such as credit card payment, booking movie tickets and paying mobile phone subscription fees.
"HTC believes that mobile payments will become an indispensable function for smartphones, and we expect to jointly establish a complete industry chain of mobile payments based on such a strategic alliances," Fred Liu, president of HTC engineering and operations, said in the statement.
HTC declined to reveal the specific number of its bank partners in the Chinese mainland or the price of the handset.
Chai Hongfeng, executive vice-president of China UnionPay, said at a news briefing in Shanghai, China Daily reports:
Chai added that the launch of HTC's mobile payment handset could spearhead China's mobile payment era, as mobile phone use is now a part of daily life.
He said mobile payment could quickly gain popularity, provided that it offers increased convenience and security.
He also disclosed that China UnionPay is deploying initial strategic arrangements in about a dozen Chinese mainland cities, in cooperation with local banks to push forward mobile payment businesses.
Xu Jinyao, general manager of China UnionPay's mobile payment department, recently said there were already 400,000 POS machines in China and these are likely to increase to 700,000 by the end of this year.
"HTC has been developing the mobile payment handset for more than a year. We cooperated with China UnionPay for merely six months before we introduced the device," Dennis Chen, head of the Asia and China Enterprise department of HTC Corp, told China Daily.
"We support China UnionPay's mobile payment standard because it is an industry standard and is open for any mobile devices. It means customers will have more choices," Chen said.
Chen added it is very likely that China UnionPay may promote its mobile payment services beyond China. At present, the Chinese bank-card processor provides services in more than 120 countries.
Currently, UnionPay cardholders can only make payments at about 40,000 contracted stores and can access 17,000 of the country's automated teller machines (ATMs).