Ant Financial and ICBC Enter Cooperation on QR Code Compatibility

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Fintech giant Ant Financial and China’s biggest bank have officially launched cooperation in the area of QR code compatibility.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has become the first big state-owned bank in China to enter a QR code compatibility arrangement with Ant Financial, according to a report from Securities Daily.

Under the arrangement clients of Ant Financial and ICBC can use the QR code’s of both to complete payments when using ICBC eLife (工银e生活) or Alipay.

Trials of the cooperative arrangement have already kicked off in the cities of Hangzhou, Chongqing and Guangzhou, and are set to spread to more cities.

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.” 

Bank of Communications has already teamed up with fintech giant Tencent to achieve QR code compatibility, while Bank of Hangzhou has also entered a similar agreement with NetsUnion.

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