China Mobile have announced their intention to advance in the digital identity market
Sihan Bo Chen, Head of Greater China, GSMA
A steady rise in spam and fraudulent activity in recent years has left many Chinese people reluctant to share personal information for commercial purposes. This diminished willingness to give out personal data means there is now declining trust in identity verification methods such as SMS OTP – Chinese consumers increasingly demand solutions which do not require them to share their mobile phone numbers.
This presents a valuable opportunity to Chinese operators, to act as the natural means by which consumers can verify their identities with confidence. Now the gatekeepers of identity information, operators can use the widespread trust they enjoy – due to their unparalleled infrastructural security – to allay the need for consumers to provide their data to multiple third parties. Frustration grows too at the necessity to recall multiple passwords for different online purposes, which are demonstrably insecure as well as inconvenient. Research also indicates that users are impatient with frequent registrations, often providing incomplete or inaccurate information online, and that what is recorded cannot be analysed holistically due to data siloes. The need for a single, secure, interoperable identity solution in China is clear.
China Mobile has risen to this challenge by developing a multi-factor identity solution called Mobile Authentication. As a flagship member of Mobile Connect global authentication initiative, the solution offers four capabilities:
- One-click Login allows users to authenticate seamlessly, to access more than 1,000 applications and services without the need for a username and password;
- SIM Shield provides two-factor authentication for financial transactions, without the need for an additional device, as has been the norm in China until now;
- My Own Number eliminates the need for the inconvenience and security risks of SMS OTP, by verifying users’ numbers imperceptibly through the mobile network; and
- Smart Link provides users with a personalised link embedded via text message, via which they can access their personal accounts in a single step.
China Mobile’s move into the digital identity market signals alignment with the goals of Mobile Connect. The operator supports the GSMA’s global authentication initiative, actively encourages global operator-federation, collaborates with industry partners and continues to contribute towards improving mobile identity services.
The huge and growing market in China has already yielded considerable fruit, with 450 million transactions being carried out daily among 62 million users, and a 99.8% success rate. China Mobile has acknowledged that, with 1.39 billion mobile users in China as of Q3 2017, the prize for successful collaboration is too great to be missed; with cooperation now achieved within China, China Mobile eagerly awaits developments on connecting the enormous Chinese market with digital commerce outside China’s borders.