China Unicom Anhui Branch (Unicom Anhui), Agricultural Bank of China Anhui (ABC) and SmartPay Jieyin Ltd. (SmartPay) today held a press conference announcing the launch of jointly developed "China Unicom Toll Stations" in rural areas.
These "toll stations" allow registered SmartPay dealers to facilitate mobile transactions, including topping-up China Unicom prepaid mobile phone users. The increased distribution and ease of access to wireless networks for end customers is aimed at narrowing the "information gap" between urban and rural areas.
At the recently held 4th Plenary Meeting of 16th Party Congress in China, clear goals were set to increase rural earnings and bring the "information highway" to rural areas. This drive has opened up large new potential markets for mobile operators, as well as new challenges. Through SmartPay's "toll-stations", mobile operators can rapidly deploy pre-paid top-up and mobile payment services to allow rural residents access to service faster and more conveniently.
SmartPay has been a leader in electronic payment that enables Chinese consumers and merchants to send and receive money anywhere, anytime, and has built on its reputation for service leadership since its formation in 2003.
"Toll Stations" can be established by any Unicom mobile phone user with a proper identification and a special account at ABC. The "Toll Station" owner can then top up fellow customers and earn commissions on a per- transaction basis, relying on SmartPay's mobile payments platform linking the banks, telecom operators and user. SmartPay provides systematic support for the service including call center, training service, system support, business demo and marketing.
China Unicom Anhui General Manager Tian Wenke noted, "The successful application of "Unicom Dealer Toll Station" benefits from the win-win business model of Unicom-Dealer-User, and presents a business model which will answer a huge market opportunity. Greg Shen, Chief Executive Officer of SmartPay noted, "We believe that successful mobile payment systems requires the contribution of many different skill sets and tight integration with partners, and we have assembled a team that reflects that philosophy."
SmartPay and China Unicom both expect to extend this business model to additional regions over the coming quarters.