|dc.description.abstract||Due to the lack of efficient offline payment services for small value payment, and along with the booming of the Internet and telecommunications technologies, new electronic payment services and instruments are becoming increasingly popular and important in the first and second decades of the 21 century in China’s electronic commerce economy. The new electronic payment instruments, which primarily include Internet third party payment and virtual currency, are the subjects of research in this thesis.
This thesis focuses on electronic payment law relating to the Internet, and the e-payment law which has been altered substantially by the Internet, rather than focusing on a comprehensive law of payment, clearance and settlement, or traditional mechanisms of payment, such as negotiable instruments and electronic funds transfers that occurs only within the intranet of closed banking systems. Although the new electronic payment instruments cannot escape from the influence of the traditional payment, and new payment instruments are based upon the traditional one both in technological infrastructure and in legal framework, the new electronic payment instruments do possess their own special features in technology, business models and in law.
On this regard, readers might be asking why the author did not use the topic of “Internet Payment” or “online payment” instead of “new electronic payment” for the title of the thesis.
The answer is because in China, telephone payment, along with Internet payment should be collectively considered as new electronic payment tools, and therefore, it is too narrow to just use the term “Internet Payment”. Also, the word “online” is, somewhat, a misleading word,
and the author tries to specify in most cases whether it is an “Internet” or a “mobile network”
or “landlines” or any other forms of networks in the following analysis when the concept of
“online” has to be referred to.
On the other hand, it is a truth that, among those new electronic payment instruments, it is the
Internet that has been shaking and reshaping the infrastructure framework of payment,
clearance and settlement; and telephone payment as well as mobile payment, to a great extent,
are relying on the Internet. Therefore, Internet-related payment lies at the heart of the thesis.
Furthermore, in China, new electronic payment instruments are largely created and facilitated
through non-bank Internet third party payment providers and virtual currency, These two
types of new electronic payment services possess enormous scale and are developing in a fast
speed. Therefore, this thesis will treat the law on non-bank Internet third party payment
platform providers and virtual currency as two crucial points to discuss.1
1.2 Research Questions
The hypothesis of the thesis is that legal issues arising from new electronic payment services,
which heavily rely on and is substantially attached to the Internet, are different from legal
issues pertaining to traditional electronic payment services which are primarily intra-bank or
inter-bank related. For example, in the Internet third party payment system (see Chapter 4 of
the thesis), non-bank intermediaries are involved which is outside the regulatory framework
of the traditional banking and payment system; also for example, in the virtual currency
system (see Chapter 5 & 6 of the thesis), money is not issued by governments and
denominated into any national legitimate currencies such as Renminbi in China, instead,
money is issued by private Internet companies and denominated into currencies of those
private companies. Thus, there are a number of legal questions to be considered: how is the Internet third party payment being regulated in China? What are the key issues in regulating
the Internet third party payment? Is the current regulation appropriate? How to regulate the
Internet games virtual currency in China? How is the Internet third party payment and virtual
currency regulated in the European Union? Are there any lessons that China may learn from
the European Union? In the thesis, the author examines these important legal issues relating
to new electronic payment in detail, evaluate current existing regulations both in China and in
the EU/UK, and propose specific regulatory approaches and measures for China.||en_US