American Express licences Serve platform to Chinese Lianlian Group to power its mobile wallet

American Express and Chinese mobile top-up provider, Lianlian Group, are going into business together to bring Amex’s next-generation commerce technology, Serve, to the Chinese market. The Amex Serve platform streamlines various payment options through a single account that can be credited from a bank account, credit, debit, or charge card. Lianlian was founded in 2004 and today operates a network of over 300,000 small businesses around China where customers go to top-up their phones. Part of that network also enables payments for utility bills, video gaming credits and airline tickets.

The partnership will licence Lianlian Group to use the Serve platform to power its new mobile wallet, a digital payment technology which consumers will be able to use to top-up their mobile phones, pay bills and purchase products and services. In time Lianlian Group intends to use the platform to develop other financial products and services.

Dan Schulman, Group President of Amex’s Enterprise Growth section summarised the partnership as follows: “By leveraging Serve into its infrastructure, Lianlian Group will be well positioned to enable consumers to bridge the gap between the limitation of paying with cash and the opportunities associated with digital commerce.”

Amex is setting up an enterprise growth division in Hangzhou to provide technical and consulting support as well making a $125 million equity investment in an overseas subsidiary of Lianlian Group, Lianlian Pay Inc. Amex has also recently confirmed a number of deals and partnerships with key players in the US payment space, such as wireless carriers Verizon and Sprint, Foursquare, Facebook and Zynga. Amex has been investing considerably in payment technologies and will continue to do so with a new $100 million fund.

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