China UnionPay and Tencent Work on Integration of QR Codes Following Central Bank Push

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Payments giant China UnionPay and online tech titan Tencent are currently working on measures to integrate their QR code systems after the Chinese central bank called for a unified barcode system in its 2019 fintech plan.

Sources from Tencent’s TenPay said to Diyi Caijing that UnionPay and TenPay are currently undertaking cooperative trials to achieve full compatibility between their respective QR code systems.

The trials will be gradually expanded to encompass a greater number of areas, until the two companies achieve full compatibility in terms of account transfers and consumer payments throughout China.

The “Fintech Development Plan (2019 – 2021)” (金融科技(FinTech)发展规划(2019-2021)年) released by the Chinese central bank in September 2019 highlighted the compatibility of QR code payments as a key goal.

The Plan called for “driving QR code payment compatibility, researching and formulating compatible barcode payment technology standards, unification of barcode payment coding regulations, establishment of a barcode payment technology system, overcoming the barriers between barcode payment services, and achieve mutual recognition and scanning of the codes of different apps and vendors.”

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