Tencent, the Chinese technology conglomerate and parent company of WeChat, has teamed up with Chinese state-owned UnionPay to use the same QR codes on mobile payments, Caixin Global reports.
The move sees new player UnionPay secure a significant foothold in China’s mobile payment arena, upsetting the the two-company monopoly held until now by Tencent and Alibaba.
UnionPay’s status as a state-owned entity will see China’s central bank edge closer to its goal of system integration in mobile payments, both domestically and overseas.
The integration of QR codes will mean Tencent and UnionPay customers can transfer or spend money using the same smartphone symbols. A Tencent representative confirmed that it is collaborating with UnionPay “in a number of fields on a trial basis”, according to Bloomberg.
The two companies have also agreed to work together on facial recognition-powered payments, Caixin Global sources close to Tencent and UnionPay revealed.
Launched in December 2017, QuickPass serves just 240 million users. Set up by lenders from Chinese banks including the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, UnionPay was always designed to create room for more than just two players in the country’s mobile payments market.