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Phones pay for Metro and bus travel

FROM today, China Unicom's users in Shanghai can use their mobile phones to pay to travel by bus or Metro by swiping them as they would a transport card.

It makes Shanghai the first city in the country to adopt large-scale mobile payment services.

"We will expand the mobile payment services to other sectors such as shopping," He Yan, Shanghai Unicom's market manager, said.

He was attending the GSMA Asia Pacific Conference and Exhibition, which was held in Shanghai today.

In overseas markets such as Japan, mobile payment is widely used on public transportation and retail stores.

The system was jointly developed by Shanghai Unicom, Shanghai Public Transportation Card Co and Shanghai Fudan Microelectronics Co.

Shanghai Unicom has launched a mobile phone produced by Hedy Company with a built-in payment chipset.

Meanwhile, current Shanghai Unicom users can apply for the service at local outlets. The carrier will install a super-thin chipset on the back of the users' SIM cards, which cost "several dozen yuan" each, He said.

Shanghai Unicom is talking with partners to include the service in more handset brands.

Other local carriers, Shanghai branches of China Mobile and China Telecom, also said that they were developing such services.

Shanghai Telecom is in negotiation with domestic banks to kick off mobile payment.

In China, mobile payment volume reached 17.04 billion yuan (US$2.51 billion) in the first half, a 63.7 percent growth year-on-year, according to iResearch, a Shanghai-based IT consulting firm.


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