Source: Tom Online
TOM Online Inc. (Nasdaq: TOMO; Hong Kong GEM: 8282), China's leading wireless internet company, today announced that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with UMPAY (Union Mobile Pay Ltd.), the sole authorized mobile payment gateway on China Mobile's platform, to jointly develop and market bank card, debit card and credit card-based mobile payment products and services in China.
UMPAY's key shareholders include China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier with more than 230 million subscribers, and China Union Pay, a national payment network set up by a consortium of more than 100 banks and with a total of more than 800 million bank card users in China.
Founded in 2003, UMPAY has attracted 3 million registered users to date and signed up with 8 Chinese banks including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications to offer mobile wallet services. At present, UMPAY's nationwide coverage through its authorized numbers offers a range of payment functions. These services include the payment of China Mobile phone bills and utilities bills, the recharging of China Mobile phone cards and retail services ranging from purchasing of lottery tickets to plane tickets.
Under the agreement, TOM Online will be the wireless and online payment portal company partner of UMPAY and will work with UMPAY to offer more comprehensive mobile payment products. Leveraging its vast online and wireless resources, including its wireless internet user base of more than 70 million, TOM Online will help further expand UMPAY's merchant and user bases to accelerate the adoption of this secure and convenient mobile payment service.
Through the cooperation, TOM Online believes it will help drive the usage of wireless value-added services in the daily life of the Chinese people. TOM Online Chief Executive Officer Wang Lei Lei said: "TOM Online has long been a leader in the provision of wireless content in China. Through this partnership, our services will now cover mobile content as well as mobile functions. We are confident that the combination of UMPAY's platform and our substantial user base and resources, the cooperation will present a compelling application to more and more mobile phone users."
UMPAY Managing Director Zhang Bin said: "We are very pleased to partner with China's leading wireless internet company TOM Online. TOM Online's extensive distribution networks and user base will accelerate our business development in China. Mobile payment is an important service in China where mobile phones are ubiquitous. The country's mobile payment is expected to double in size each year in the next few years."
China is the world's largest mobile phone market with more than 360 million subscribers as at the end of June 2005. The country's online payment market is expected to grow to more than RMB60.5 billion by the end of 2007 from an estimated RMB16 billion this year, according to iResearch. In view of China's more than 800 million bank card users, UMPAY and TOM Online believe there are large growth opportunities in the wireless payment industry.