China may allow foreign currency online transactions-paper
BEIJING, Sept 25
BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - China may allow 17 online payment services companies, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Alipay and Tencent Holding Ltd's Tenpay, to trial foreign currency transactions as part of a pilot programme.
A report in the official Shanghai Securities News quoted on Wednesday an unidentified source as the State Administration of Foreign Exchange had given verbal permission for the trials, which may pave the way for these companies to handle transactions by Chinese shoppers who buy goods and services from foreign online retailers using local currency.
SAFE, Alipay and Tenpay were not immediately available for comment.
China this year is expected to leapfrog the United States to become the world's largest online marketplace by customer spending, and is forecast to be worth 3.3 trillion yuan ($539 billion) by 2015, according to consultants Bain & Company,
China's e-commerce market has grown at an average rate of 71 percent from 2009 to 2012 compared to 13 percent in the United States, the Bain report added.
The volume of third-party online payments in China reached 1.1 trillion yuan ($183 billion) in the second quarter of 2013, a 28 percent year-on-year increase, according to Beijing-based research firm iResearch.
Alipay accounted for almost half of market, while Tenpay accounted for 20 percent.
($1 = 6.1210 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Lee Chyen Yee in SINGAPORE; Editing by Miral Fahmy)
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