The ground has been cleared for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s plans to launch its payment service, Mi Pay, in India as the company has finally received an approval from NPCI.

BusinessLine was the first to report the company’s plans to bring Mi Pay to India.

Xiaomi, currently India’s second-largest smartphone seller, has already conducted trials and testing of the payment service, and is now inviting beta testers for Mi Pay. The company has partnered with ICICI Bank and PayU for the service.

With Mi Pay, consumers will be able to make payments using UPI, debit cards, credit cards and internet banking. The service will also allow utility payments for services such as phone bill/recharge, water bill, electricity bill, with just one tap.

According to sources, NPCI has given Xiaomi clearance for large group usage, which in case of WhatsApp is limited to one million users group.

To begin with, Mi Pay would be integrated within Contacts, SMS, Scanner apps as well as App Vault in MIUI, the company’s Android interface.

Xiaomi will also be the second such company from China after Alibaba, with a deep interest in the mobile payments segment. Alibaba has investments in mobile wallet company Paytm, in which billionaire investor Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway has pumped in Rs 2,500 crore.

A Xiaomi spokesperson confirmed the development but declined to comment further. The mobile maker launched Mi Pay in 2016 in China, in collaboration with China UnionPay to provide contactless payments service (NFC technology) through debit cards from 20 different Chinese banks.

Mi Pay will compete with the likes of Google Tez (now rebranded as Google Pay), Phone Pe and WhatsApp, among others, that are banking on the growth of affordable smartphones, Internet penetration and cheaper broadband.

While Google Tez, Paytm and Phone Pe are already claiming to have witnessed massive growth in terms of UPI transactions, Facebook’s WhatsApp Payments, which did a beta test early this year, hit a rough patch over regulatory violations. The Indian government has asked the messaging app to set up a data centre in India and declare the data-sharing agreement it has with its parent company, Facebook.