Alipay Teams up with UnionPay as Beijing Cuts Ties Between Payments Sector and Banks


The world’s largest mobile payments platform and the world’s largest card payment organisation have entered a new cooperative partnership.

Alipay and China UnionPay have executed an agreement to engage in cooperation in the payments and settlement sector according to a report from National Business Daily.

Under the agreement Alipay and UnionPay will cooperate in the areas of cardless payments and QR code payments, with UnionPay providing transfer settlement services.

The move comes after China’s third party payments sector received an order from Beijing in August 2017 to sever direct ties with banks, and instead process all payments operations involving bank accounts via the NetsUnion Clearing Corporation (网联清算有限公司) platform starting from 30 June 2018.

Regulators were concerned that direct ties between third party payments providers and banks were exacerbating risk by making it difficult to track or monitor the movements of funds.

NetsUnion announced on 31 March 2018 that it had executed an agreement with Tencent’s Tenpay with respect to QR code payments, with the first transaction under the agreement processed that day.

March also saw the release of the “Work Plan for the Connection of WeChat and Alipay QR Code Payment Operations into the UnionPay Platform” (微信与支付宝条码支付业务接入银联平台工作方案), which indicated that both WeChat and Alipay would connect their bank card acceptance operations to UnionPay.

On 11 May Alipay announced that it had completed systems connection, coordinated testing and verification with NetsUnion, and that starting from that date NetsUnion would provide it with testing and connection services in relation to banks.

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