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Blockchain
Home / Articles

Top Crypto Payment Gateways: China

04 Jan, 2024
Written by
Bayan Ualikhanova
Bayan Ualikhanova
Reviewed by
Elizaveta Latinskaya
Elizaveta Latinskaya

The global cryptocurrency market has experienced phenomenal growth over the past decade, evolving from a niche area of interest into a significant financial ecosystem. Cryptocurrencies, led by Bitcoin and followed by thousands of altcoins, have transformed the way we think about money, investment, and financial transactions. The adoption of cryptocurrencies is on the rise, fueled by their potential for fast, secure, and borderless transactions. This growing adoption is not just among individual investors and crypto enthusiasts but also within various industries looking to leverage blockchain technology for enhanced transparency, security, and efficiency.

How we calculate Our high-load parsers scrape the web and our marketing analysts process the data to provide up-to-date information for business.
Rank Company Cryptocurrencies Release Date Platform Regulatory Licenses
#1 Alipay Plus >1000 15 January 2009 Andoid, iOS Not Stated
#2 WeChat Pay >1000 August 5, 2013 Andoid, iOS Not Stated
#3 UnionPay >1000 26 March 2002 Andoid, iOS Not Stated

China’s Position in the Crypto World 

China holds a unique and complex position within the global crypto landscape. Historically, China has been a powerhouse in the crypto world, especially in the areas of mining and trading. Chinese technology firms have also been at the forefront of blockchain research and development, contributing significantly to the global blockchain ecosystem. However, China’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies has been notably stringent. The Chinese government has implemented various measures to control the cryptocurrency space, including bans on ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), strict regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges, and a crackdown on crypto mining activities. These measures reflect China’s cautious approach to the speculative aspects of cryptocurrencies, aiming to mitigate financial risks and maintain financial stability.

Despite these regulatory challenges, China’s enthusiasm for blockchain technology remains strong. The country is actively exploring and investing in blockchain applications across various sectors, from finance to supply chain management. Moreover, China is pioneering the development and testing of its own digital currency, the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), also known as the digital yuan. This initiative places China at the forefront of the global race to develop central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), signaling its ambition to lead in the digital transformation of money.

Regulations for Cryptocurrencies in China 

China’s regulatory approach to cryptocurrencies and digital payments is marked by a cautious and controlled stance, particularly towards cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Chinese government has implemented a series of regulations aimed at mitigating the risks associated with the volatility and speculative nature of cryptocurrencies, while simultaneously fostering the development of digital payment technologies and blockchain applications.

Crackdown on Cryptocurrencies:

  1. ICO Ban: In September 2017, China banned Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a popular method for raising funds in the cryptocurrency space, deeming them illegal and a form of unregulated public financing that could pose significant financial risks.
  2. Exchange Shutdowns: Following the ICO ban, China also ordered the shutdown of local cryptocurrency exchanges, effectively cutting off a key avenue for trading cryptocurrencies within the country. This move forced many Chinese investors and companies in the cryptocurrency space to relocate their operations overseas.
  3. Crypto Mining Restrictions: China, once the world’s largest hub for cryptocurrency mining due to its cheap electricity and hardware, has imposed restrictions and outright bans on crypto mining activities in various regions, citing concerns over energy consumption and environmental impact.

Promotion of Digital Payments and Blockchain:

  1. Digital Payments Dominance: Even as it restricts cryptocurrencies, China is a global leader in digital payment systems. Digital payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay have become ubiquitous in China, facilitating cashless transactions with ease and efficiency across the country.
  2. Blockchain Innovation: The Chinese government actively supports blockchain technology, recognizing its potential beyond cryptocurrencies. China leads the world in the number of blockchain projects and patents, with significant investments in blockchain research and development. The government has launched initiatives to create blockchain-based service networks and industrial parks to encourage innovation in this space.

Development of Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP):

Digital Yuan: Perhaps the most significant move in China’s digital finance landscape is the development of its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) or digital yuan. This project is aimed at replacing some of the cash in circulation, enhancing the efficiency of monetary transactions, and giving the central bank greater control over the money supply. It also positions China as a leader in the global shift towards digital currencies, potentially reshaping international trade and finance.

Top Crypto Payment Gateways

Alipay Plus

Alipay, helmed by Jack Ma’s Ant Group, reigns as China’s premier digital payment service and earns its title as a “super-app,” akin to WeChat, due to its vast array of features. Since its inception in 2004, Alipay has collaborated with over 200 financial institutions to provide seamless payment solutions. Presently, it boasts a staggering 93% adoption rate among Chinese consumers. Originating in mainland China, Alipay expanded its reach with “Alipay HK,” a version tailored for Hong Kong. The platform continues to evolve, introducing “Alipay for Global Business” and “Alipay Plus Global Payments” to cater to an international audience.

Alipay Plus stands out as a comprehensive payment platform for businesses, supporting transactions via the Alipay e-wallet, major credit cards, and other globally recognized payment methods.

Alipay Plus Distinguished Features:

  • Global customer coverage at checkout.
  • Simplified checkout process through “Easy Pay,” eliminating the need for redirections.
  • “Auto Debit” feature for payment pre-authorization, encouraging repeat purchases.
  • Availability of combined payment options.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction through payment marketing and Alipay+ Rewards.
  • Compatibility with various devices, including mobile, PC, and TV.
  • Provision of API and SDK for integration.

Alipay supports a wide array of currencies for its cross-border and in-store payment solutions, including GBP, HKD, USD, SGD, JPY, and many others, facilitating a global reach.

Accepted Payment Methods by Alipay Plus:

Alipay Plus Global Payment accommodates over 60 payment methods, catering to preferred channels in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin America, including digital wallets like Alipay, AlipayHK, and Kakao Pay, credit cards from UnionPay to American Express, QR Codes, bank transfers, and online banking.

Alipay Plus Pricing Structure:

Both Alipay and Alipay Plus offer variable service rates based on usage and geographical location. Detailed pricing information is accessible via the Alipay Merchant Portal. For cross-border payments, standard fees range from 2.2% for transactions under 1 million yuan to 1.6% for those exceeding 10 million yuan.

WeChatPay

WeChat, crafted by the technological powerhouse Tencent, is an all-encompassing application that merges messaging, social networking, and mobile shopping into one seamless experience. Within this multifaceted app lies WeChat Pay, a payment functionality that captivates hundreds of millions of users daily, making it a cornerstone in China’s digital payment landscape, with an impressive 86% of consumers in the country utilizing it.

WeChat Pay stands out for its versatility, accommodating a range of payment methods such as quick pay, QR code scanning, web payments within apps, and direct in-app transactions. Moreover, it bridges international payment barriers by facilitating the conversion of major foreign currencies into Chinese yuan for transactions.

WeChat Pay’s Features:

  • Seamless integration within the WeChat ecosystem.
  • A prevalent payment method in China, predominantly through QR codes.
  • Availability of a customs clearance product, enhancing the utility of its payment solutions.
  • Support for 16 currencies in quick pay, QR code scanning, and in-app payments, including GBP, HKD, USD, and more.
  • Ability to settle transactions in 26 different currencies, broadening its international appeal.

Accepted Payment Methods by WeChat Pay:

  • Quick Pay for swift transactions.
  • QR Code Payment for easy scan-and-pay options.
  • In-App Web-based Payment for purchases made within web pages in apps.
  • In-App Payment for direct transactions within applications.
  • Mini Program Payment, enhancing the functionality of WeChat’s mini-programs.

WeChat Pay Usage Fees:

For detailed information on usage fees, potential users are advised to reach out directly to WeChat via their “Contact Us” page, as such details are not readily available online.

UnionPay

UnionPay, also known as China Union Pay, stands as a financial services colossus under the Chinese government’s ownership, linking it closely with China’s leading banks. It dominates the card payment sector within the country, outpacing international giants like Visa and Mastercard®. Expanding its reach, UnionPay introduced UnionPay International (UPI), a dedicated subsidiary aimed at fostering the brand’s global presence and acceptance. Globally, UnionPay International is recognized in 181 countries and regions and facilitates mobile payments in 99 countries and regions, underscoring its expansive network.

For businesses, UnionPay unveils the UnionPay Merchants Service Platform alongside the UnionPay International Developer, providing a suite of payment products and API solutions tailored for seamless transactions.

UnionPay’s Distinguished Features:

  • Broad acceptance both within China and abroad.
  • Universal compatibility with ATMs across mainland China.
  • Over 30 million merchant locations in mainland China and 44 other countries and regions support UnionPay QR code payments.
  • Contactless payments via the app are available at over 7 million point-of-sale terminals in 82 countries and regions, promoting a tap-and-go payment experience.

Payment Methods Supported by UnionPay:

  • UnionPay Card for traditional card transactions.
  • UnionPay QR Code for modern, scan-to-pay transactions.

UnionPay Fee Structure:

UnionPay implements a commission fee model for merchant services, varying by category. For detailed information, merchants are encouraged to consult the UnionPay Help Center.

PayEase 

PayEase stands as a pivotal provider of third-party payment services, extending its reach both within China and internationally. Its core offerings encompass internet payment, mobile payment, and cross-border payment solutions. In its pursuit of excellence, PayEase collaborates with leading corporate banks such as China UnionPay, China Construction Bank, and Bank of China, thereby ensuring robust and reliable payment services. Tailoring its solutions to specific industry needs, PayEase has carved out specialized offerings for sectors including education and training, aviation tourism, and cross-border e-commerce and collections, demonstrating its versatility and client-focused approach.

Annually, PayEase boasts a staggering 300 billion transactions, servicing over 24,000 merchants, which underscores its significant impact and trust within the payment services sector.

PayEase’s Distinguished Features:

  • Internet payment solutions accommodate both B2C and B2B transactions.
  • Comprehensive mobile payment options.
  • Customizable services aligned with client requirements, bolstered by dedicated technical support.
  • Versatile access through a range of interfaces including app, HTML5, WAP, desktop, and SDK.

Accepted Payment Methods by PayEase:

  • Broad acceptance of credit and debit cards.
  • Support for international cards such as Visa, Mastercard®, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club.
  • Integration with mainstream mobile payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay.
  • QR Code payment options for convenient and quick transactions.

PayEase Fee Structure:

Detailed information regarding usage fees is not publicly available; interested parties are encouraged to reach out directly to PayEase via the contact information provided on their “About Us” page or through the email address cs@payeasenet.com.

99Bill

99Bill emerges as a formidable force in China’s third-party payment service landscape, distinguished by its e-payment licenses sanctioned by the central bank and fortified through alliances with over 50 financial institutions. Its comprehensive service suite spans internet, mobile, and POS terminal payments, accommodating a wide array of bank cards, including significant international brands, with a reach extending to approximately 3 billion domestic and international bank cards.

The platform boasts an impressive user base with over 103 million registered users and in excess of 2 million registered merchants, showcasing its widespread acceptance and trust within the market.

99Bill’s Features:

  • A cross-border mobile payment solution that empowers Chinese consumers to shop from overseas retailers and complete transactions via mobile payments.
  • Facilitation for international online merchants to receive payments in Chinese renminbi (RMB), enhancing accessibility for global commerce.
  • A dual-mode system catering to resellers and merchants, specifically tailored for e-commerce entrepreneurs.
  • An express checkout feature that allows secure payments using a 99Bill account password, bypassing the need to re-enter credit card details, thereby streamlining the process and fostering repeat patronage.

Payment Methods Supported by 99Bill:

  • Payments primarily focused on RMB currency.
  • Acceptance of various bank cards and major international cards.
  • QR code payment options for convenient and swift transactions.

99Bill Fee Structure:

For details on 99Bill’s fee structure, interested parties are encouraged to directly consult with 99Bill, as specific fee information is not publicly disclosed.

Navigating Digital Currencies

In conclusion, China’s crypto payment gateway landscape is shaped by its unique regulatory environment and digital innovation. Despite stringent cryptocurrency regulations, platforms like Alipay Plus and WeChat Pay have emerged as leaders, offering secure, efficient, and versatile payment solutions that cater to both domestic and global markets. These gateways not only facilitate traditional transactions but also pave the way for the broader adoption of digital and crypto payments in China, reflecting the country’s push towards a more digitized economy.

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