|Shanghai Media Group, China UnionPay and Bank of China Wednesday announced the launch of a TV-based payment service, a key expansion of the national policy, Three Network Convergence, referring to the convergence of Internet, mobile and telecommunications networks.
The three sides - SMG, China UnionPay Merchant Services and BOC ExpressPay - signed agreements yesterday during the China Network Audio-Visual Industry Forum in Shanghai.
The new format will allow millions of consumers, who will be issued an exclusive bankcard by BOC, with a login and password, to pay for on-demand TV programs as well as enjoy direct TV shopping. They can also pay bills for public utilities and train and flight tickets, according to SMG, the city's No. 1 media group.
"It's expected to create a new industry chain of TV payment services," said Li Ruigang, SMG's president.
Besides the TV platform, the payment service is also available on the Internet and handset, the three sides said.
In January, China released a statement encouraging cross-industry operations among telecommunications, broadcast and Internet firms. It aims to fully converge all networks by 2015.
Compared with online payment services, which is already popular in China, TV payment has a greater potential because almost each family in the country has at least one TV set, industry insiders said. The payment mode is possible even on TV without online applications.
The sales of TV with Internet functions are expected to reach 16 million units this year and the number will hit 20 to 30 million next year, according to SMG.