China’s state-owned electronic payment processor, UnionPay, has launched an international unit in a bid to increase the number of partner banks accepting its cards in other countries, Reuters reported. The newly established UnionPay International unit already counts 60 domestic and foreign banks as its members. Since first heading overseas in 2004, UnionPay has entered 135 countries and regions and partnered with 8 million overseas merchants. The state-owned monopoly has already linked up with HSBC Holdings (HBC.NYSE, HSBA.LON, 0005.HKG, HSB.EPA) and National Australia Bank (NAB.ASX) to promote its services abroad, increasing competition between UnionPay and global firms such as Visa (V.NYSE) and Mastercard (MA.NYSE). The Chinese company’s international expansion has helped facilitate inbound and outbound travel and raise the profile of the yuan as a global currency.
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