Finance group China Merchants Bank has formed a strategic alliance with 99Bill Corporation, a payment service provider, to jointly promote online payment and online banking services in China.

The strategic partnership will enable 99Bill to expand its online payment services to the customers of China Merchant Bank. Meanwhile, the alliance will help the Chinese bank to secure more high-end customers, and increase the usage of its online banking services.

Initially, the two companies will jointly launch a marketing program to encourage the usage of online banking and online payment services, and will offer customers special bonuses and discounts for banking and shopping online. The two firms will also develop and introduce simpler and innovative payment services to meet market demands.

Innovation is always the cornerstone of our rapid growth, said Oliver Kwan, CEO of 99Bill. We are striving to develop more value-added services for the 1.1 billon bank cardholders in China. Our partnership with China Merchants Bank, the pioneer in online banking service, marks another milestone for us and together, we can deliver more easy-to-use and innovative services to our customers.

According to the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the country’s major commercial banks had signed up 75 million online banking customers by the end of 2006. For 2007, the online banking transactions volume is projected to exceed RMB118 trillion, while the number of online bankers is expected to reach 117 million.