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Chinese hurl $1.5bn into NFC city

Not planning to use the tech, just build it

China Unicom, the country's second biggest network operator, has signed a $1.5bn deal with the Chongqing Municipal Government to create a world centre for the production of Near Field Communications kit.

While the US network operators are joining together to create a payment system based on handsets, including NFC technology, the Chinese are taking a more profit-driven approach in ensuring that they're in a position to manufacture the wireless kit the Americans will be need.

The $1.5bn will come from China Unicom, which intends to roll out NFC-based handsets across China and will build a research centre in Chongqing.

The Municipal Government will offer tax breaks to companies involved in NFC production or research, with the intention of creating an industry worth $7bn within the next five years, NFC World reports.

Despite being only the second of China's network operators, China Unicom still has 125 million customers. The Chongqing region is home to around 30 million people and the city is an important port on the Yangtze river.

NFC has been the tech that no-one loved. That is except for the US networks, which have undergone a remarkable conversion to the joys of m-commerce, and clubbed together to create a new payment system based on handsets and incorporating NFC into its design.

That deal involves Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as Barclays Bank. The details, both technical and logistical, are still being thrashed out. ®

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