Note: From June 1, 2015, agencies those meet the chinese government requirements can apply for “bank card clearing business license” and run bank card clearance business in China. This means that the 12-year monopolied clearance market that operate by a single company would be broken, China UnionPay will bid farewell to the era of monopoly. The review the old story, this article first unlock a decade enmities between UnionPay and Alipay. It is worth mentioning that in last year, the two sides had met for business and privately. Unfortunately, they had not reached any cooperation.
In a day of 2004, Jack Ma (马云 in chinese) went into the 300 Pine Road, Pudong, Shanghai – the headquarters of China UnionPay. He wanted to solve the payment problem of his Taobao business. Persons in the know told the “China News Weekly” magazine that the meeting was lasted only about half an hour. Both sides at the negotiating table was eager to work it out.
Jack Ma created Taobao a year ago, he used provocative language to tell those skeptical of onlookers that Taobao would defeat the international giant – EBay. But UnionPay was just established two years and it has just completed the first generation of bank card inter-bank transaction settlement system, there was no more spare resources for new project, the two sides had politely said, “find the opportunity later. The outcome of the meeting was disappointed.
A decade later, what has been doing of the world’s largest Internet third-party payment platform, Alipay and world’s highest card volume bank card organizatio – UnionPayd?
In April 2001, the chairman of the People’s Bank of China called the Vice President of Merchants Bank, Wan Jianhua, asked if he would like to set up a bank card company to doing card payment business that can make interbank, inter-regional or even cross-country money transaction.
As early as two decades ago, Europe and United States had already built the similar card organizations, the most famous are VISA and MasterCard, these card organizations have established a large global credit card acceptance network.
China urgently needed such an organization. At that time, bank card center distributed in 18 cities in nation operate just like insulated islands. Banks worked independent, they issued their own bank card and the cards are not mutually accepted. The disorderly competition resulted that in the big business counter or shop, the casher densely filled with eight or nine sets of POS machines, small business initiative to go to the bank to seek cooperation, but always encounter cold shoulder.
Based on the above factors, Wan Jianhua agreed. March 2002, UnionPay was officially established in Shanghai. By 2004, UnionPay built the first generation bankcard inter-bank transaction settlement system, since then, all of the Bank Card issued by China banks came with a red, blue and green tricolor flag logo. The cards can be used cross the regions and country.
By the end of 2004, UnionPay established an open platform strategy. According to Wan Jianhua’s interview from “Financial e Times” stated that in a UnionPay meeting in 2004, the UnionPay perform would be fully opened to the new third party payment companies. Such an movement would form a dependance on third party payment suppliers and strengthen its platform comparative position, a win-win development situration.
However, it is worth to mention that, at the time, the so-called third-party payment if offline but not an Internet payment.
In Hangzhou, less than 200 kilometers from Shanghai headquarter of UnionPay, fourty-year-old Jack Ma was being ushered in his era.
March 2003, Jack Ma deployed a number of key company memebers to do a secret project – Taobao.
However, online payment was a headache problem. According to “Southern Weekly” reported in 2011, PayPal inspirated Jack Ma. Because the supporting of VISA and MasterCard card organizations, the bank cards can also make payments through PayPal, without require the user to do additional things.