American Express Co. has said it supports the idea of using mobile phones as payments devices in China.

The Chinese payments company SmartPay released details Monday from a recent conference in Shanghai hosted by American Express and focused on the evolving Chinese economy and financial industry.

SmartPay said that its chief executive, Edward Wu, and Ken Chenault, the New York financial company's chief executive, discussed the benefits of mobile payments during a conference session.

More than 600 million people in China have mobile phones, and the two executives agreed that delivering payments capabilities to this channel could be faster and less expensive than trying to develop a new payments infrastructure, especially given the poor economic conditions.

Mr. Chenault said in a SmartPay press release that reducing costs is a top priority for financial companies and that mobile phone payments could play a key role as China's economy matures.

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