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September 10, 2009

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Swipe and ride: it's upwardly mobile

Shanghai continues to embrace the high-tech world and now commuters can simply swipe their mobile phones to pay for public transport.

The program was launched citywide yesterday and covers bus, taxi and Metro fares.

And phones may soon be able to be used for shopping like bank cards, according to the program's developer.

It is the first time mobile phones can be used directly and instantly as a payment tool on the Chinese mainland, according to China Unicom, sole provider of the service.

Similar programs to build in payment functions on phones have been carried out in a number of cities elsewhere on the mainland but only on a limited and trial basis.

With a fare-settlement chip built into the mobiles, China Unicom users in Shanghai won't need cash or transport cards to travel and will receive transport bills tacked onto their phone bills.

The built-in chip provides the same benefits as transport cards and users will receive any relevant fare discounts.

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

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

Shanghai Unicom's customers can apply to open the function on their phones at any of the company's outlets in the city.

The carrier will install a super-thin chip on the back of users' SIM cards which cost "several dozen yuan," according to He.

Other phone firms said they were developing the system.


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