An official with the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said the central bank is drafting payment rules to regulate cell phone-based mobile payments, the Xinhua-run Economic Information Daily reported Wednesday.
Fan Shuangwen, deputy head of PBOC's Department of Payment and Settlement, said at a mobile payment industry conference that drafting of the rules will follow the principles of encouraging innovation, a unified market, inclusion of all market players, and allowing the market to play the leading role.
Cell phone-based mobile payment, or proximity payment, allows people to use mobile devices to exchange information and complete payment by way of short-range communication technologies.
Proximity payment is one of two types of mobile payment in terms of communication range. The other is remote payment, which is used in online payments.
Fan said the mobile payment industry is still in its infancy in China and market players are still exploring commercial and technological models.
Government policies should encourage business innovations and guide cooperation among different sectors involved in mobile payment, given the diversity of the value chain and the complexity of players' interests, he said.
Fan said the PBOC would continue to improve regulation of the mobile payment industry.
In 2010, the PBOC promulgated a rule to regulate the mobile payment businesses of non-financial institutions in China.
The rule stipulates that non-financial institutions should obtain a license for providing mobile payment services. So far, 37 payment institutions have been granted mobile payment licenses, according to Fan.
With the rising penetration of smartphones and 3G networks and the growth of mobile Internet applications, mobile payment has seen significant development in China. Financial institutions, non-financial operators, third-party payment providers and others are all reaching for their slice of the growing industry.
Lured by the huge potential and opportunities of mobile payment, China's three major telecom operators have all entered the mobile payment industry chain.
Meanwhile, third-party payment service providers, such as Alipay with China's e-commerce giant Alibaba and Tenpay with Chinese Internet giant Tencent, have already become formidable players in the mobile payment market.
Statistics from market research firm Analysys International show the transaction value via third-party payment in China totaled 334.3 billion yuan (54.7 billion U.S. dollars) in the third quarter of this year, soaring 173.1 percent from the previous quarter.