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Rumor: China to Launch Third-Party Payment Association in May

China Business News, 5/05/11

According to multiple sources in China's third-party payment industry, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) is preparing to formally launch the Chinese Payment and Clearings Association on May 6.

Industry sources revealed that the director of the new membership-based association will be appointed by the PBoC, while representatives from Alipay and three other third-party payment processors will serve as vice presidents and representatives from four other firms, including Shanghai-based International Payment Solutions (IPS) and Shanda Interactive's (Nasdaq: SNDA) Shengfutong, will serve on the association's board of directors.

According to another industry insider, an alternate plan also includes a director from the PBoC, but instead of four VP positions, ten seats will instead be reserved on the board of directors for representatives from ten companies, including Alipay, Tencent's (0700.HK) Tenpay payment platform, 99Bill, Shenfutong and IPS. According to the source, "All rumors to date have come from various sources within the PBoC, and have yet to be officially confirmed."

The CEO of another payment platform said that regulations for the new association have yet to be circulated to members and that "A meeting is to be held May 6 for the formal announcement of the association's formation, but we only received a brief notice."

A September 1 deadline set by PBoC requiring third-party payment platform operators' compliance in obtaining licenses is quickly approaching. The Chinese Payment and Clearings Association is being seen by many in the industry as an opportunity for PBoC to issue licenses to members. Others in the industry, however, remain skeptical, saying that a deadline for licenses will likely be pushed back to the middle of next year.

Editor's Note: For more background on this topic, please see "Rumor: China Establishes National Payment Industry Association" MD 3/21/11 issue.

Keywords: online payment e-payment Shanda Internet 99Bill Alipay Tenpay Tencent SNDA People's Bank of China industry association IPS third-party payment 0700.HK Shengfutong e-commerce license regulation

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