China Gives Its First Foreign E-Payment License

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What's Next In Payments®
7:00 AM EDT July 17th, 2014

China has recently issued 250  new electronic payments licenses in five batches to various operations nationwide. But there is one stand-out award in the newest batch, reports Seeking Alpha, that should catch the eye of anyone interested in the future of electronic payments in China.

The nation has just issued its first license for a foreign-backed company.

Beijing Chanjet, which sounds local, is actually 75 percent owned by foreign backed software maker Ufida.

Ufida is Hong Kong-based and Chanjet has strong ties to the Chinese central government. It is not even technically the first Hong Kong, Tencent is registered overseas and has foreign shareholders, but its subsidiary TenPay was able to receive a business license.

However, directly issuing a license to a mostly foreign backed company may indicate a shift in central bank policy that had previously only explicitly dealt with companies wholly owned and operated within China.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma recently reported that Alipay had to be spun off from Alibaba because they feared their technically foreign status would preclude their ability to obtain a lsicense for the payments wing of the business.

“In light of the uncertainties relating to the license qualification and application process for a foreign-invested payment company, our management determined that it was necessary to restructure Alipay” as a company wholly-owned by Chinese nationals so it could apply for the payment business license based on the available guidelines for domestic Chinese entities,” Alibaba said reports The Wall Street Journal. 

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