The formal launching ceremony was held at Bank of the end of March for a new unified national payment system that will allow bank card holders to use their cards at any terminal in any city, China Daily said. The system will be run by a new company called China Union- Pay, whose logo will be on the cards and the automatic teller machines that accept them. Starting with links between machines in major cities, a full national network is expected to be operational by the end of 2005.
Since 1987, Chinese banks have issued more than 383m bank cards and in 2001 transaction volumes reached Yn8,430bn. A senior official of China UnionPay said that the volume of trade was expected to double every year over the first few years of the new system and then to increase by 50 per cent annually after that.