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April 24, 2019

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UnionPay in major overseas expansion

China UnionPay’s international business arm announced yesterday it has teamed up with six Belt an Road Initiative countries in a bid to build an interconnected payment network and support personnel exchanges.

UnionPay International yesterday signed agreements with institutions from Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, the UAE and Uzbekistan in Beijing to boost cooperation in traditional and digital issuance of UnionPay cards as well as the construction of local bank card payment networks.

This is an important step in localizing overseas business, the Shanghai-based company said.

UnionPay International signed an MOU with BCEL, Laos’ largest commercial bank, to establish a joint venture with eight local institutions and jointly operate the Lao National Bank Card Payment System.

In 2015, China UnionPay helped Laos build its payment system and last year, the Bank of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the central bank, proposed a joint venture with UnionPay to further enhance the modernization of the country’s local financial payment infrastructure.

Under the agreements, major local banks in Indonesia and Thailand will carry out their first large-scale issuance of UnionPay premium cards.

Etisalat’s BOTIM, the largest real-time communication application in the UAE, also plans to issue UnionPay virtual cards on a large scale to enable its users to make payments through scanning the UnionPay QR code.

Also, a package of agreements on credit card and premium card issuance were signed with Uzbekistan’s Aloqabank.

Yesterday, Malaysia’s AmBank became the first major bank there to issue the UnionPay credit card. It was also the first local UnionPay credit card that supports contactless payment service.

Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said the agreements are a “significant pathway” to realize the connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people along the Belt and Road.

UnionPay International added that it would continue to offer innovative technical standards for bank card payment network organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.

It will also accelerate the launch of UnionPay QR code standards overseas.


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