Business / Markets

UnionPay subsidiary to beef up worldwide networks

By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-01 09:40

China UnionPay, the country's largest bank card services provider, launched UnionPay International Co Ltd in Shanghai on Friday in a bid to build up its global payment networks and an international payment brand.

China UnionPay has established networks in as many as 135 countries and regions, and has issued more than 12 million bank cards overseas in some 30 countries and regions.

UnionPay International Co Ltd, the newly launched subsidiary of China UnionPay Co, will be dedicated to operations in overseas markets to accelerate the brand's integration into the global financial market, said Su Ning, board chairman of China UnionPay and UnionPay International.

China has witnessed increasing usage of bank card payments in recent years.

In the third quarter of 2012, consumer payments by bank card reached 4,152 yuan ($659) per capita nationwide, and 46.3 percent of the entire population are bank card holders, a 6.1 percent year-on-year increase, according to the latest data released by the People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, on Monday.

More than 60 commercial banks from China and other countries had become initial members of UnionPay International by Friday.

Liu Shiyu, deputy chief of the central bank, said he hoped that UnionPay International would become a widely recognized, mainstream brand in the global payment market.

In the first half of 2012, 42.7 percent of social retail goods were transacted via bank cards in China, and a growing number of Chinese enterprises and individuals have been using China UnionPay cards for cross-border settlement, which has accelerated the internationalization of the renminbi, said Liu.

China UnionPay has already set up an extensive network in China, and UnionPay International will help extend its business in overseas markets, said Liu.

"The launching of UnionPay International will help boost Shanghai's presence in the global financial market," said Tu Guangshao, vice-mayor of Shanghai.

Shanghai is striving to become an international hub for the innovation, trading, pricing and clearing of renminbi products by 2015, and UnionPay International is expected to play a role in efforts toward that goal, said Tu.

China UnionPay set up its headquarters in Shanghai in 2002. The launching of UnionPay International is expected to attract more resources to Shanghai to help the city become an international financial center, said Tu.

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