Countries like Myanmar, where only 2% of the nation’s 53m people have credit cards, are ground zero for China’s state-controlled card-payment monopoly UnionPay’s attempt to steal global market share from companies such as Visa and MasterCard, the Financial Times reports. “For many people in emerging markets, this will be the first card they come in contact with,” said Neil Katkov, senior vice-president at finance consultant Celent in Tokyo. In just 15 years, UnionPay has become the largest bank cards group in the world by value of card transactions, taking a 37% chunk of the $21.6tn global payments market in 2015. But those customers are almost entirely in China, where it has a de facto monopoly. Outside China, UnionPay claims just 0.5% of the global market, compared with Visa’s 50% and MasterCard’s 31%. Experts watching the group say it has a clear government mandate to take on Visa and MasterCard outside China.
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