has long been cynical of so-called mobile payment initiatives that
promote the mobile phone as an alternative to traditional forms of
payment, be they credit/debit cards or cash.
But if new payment methods are going to take root anywhere, then
that country is probably China, not least because of the economies of
scale that 460m mobile phone users provide and the limited use of
SmartPay, a Chinese e-payment services provider, hopes to get some of them as customers and it has just launched
various payment services in partnership with China Unicom for Shandong
province. The services include airline ticketing, lottery payment,
utility bills and certain kinds of retail transaction.
SmartPay and Unicom also announced the launch of network of
recharging and retail sales points for payment services using
SmartPay's mobile payment technologies.
SmartPay's services in Shandong have been in their trial phase since June of 2005.
Investors in SmartPay include RRE Ventures, Evolution Capital, Lunar Group Capital, Accel Partners and others.