The president of Ant Financial Services Group has lauded the benefits of market competition among Chinese payment providers in a sign that the company is willing to challenge state-backed China Unionpay, which currently dominates China’s payment market. Alipay, the online payments unit of Ant Financial, bypasses Unionpay’s network when processing mobile payments to offline merchants like supermarkets, restaurants, and taxis, Eric Jing told the Financial Times. That means Alipay is effectively diverting billions in fees away from Unionpay, which processes debit and credit card payments. Owned by a consortium of Chinese state-owned banks and headed by a succession of retired officials from the People’s Bank of China, Unionpay has a quasi-monopoly status in bank cards.
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