Business / Markets

ICBC launches first UnionPay credit card in New Zealand

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-25 13:55

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A leading Chinese bank launched its first credit and debit card in partnership with China's UnionPay in New Zealand on Tuesday.

The Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank in term of assets and market capitalization, launched its first credit and debit card in the southern hemisphere aimed at providing a more convenient tool for frequent travelers to Asia including China.

Shi Wenchao, president of UnionPay, said that New Zealand is an important market for UnionPay with expanding customer base and UnionPay card is becoming more and more familiar and popular with New Zealand customers.

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According to him, debit cards with UnionPay logo can withdraw cash from 30 percent of ATMs in New Zealand and is accepted by some 10,000 business outlets.

He revealed that UnionPay card holders reached some 4.2 billion, exceeding those of Visa and Master though UnionPay is yet the most widely used card in the world.

Don Brash, chairman of ICBC New Zealand acknowledged the gap between UnionPay and its competitors but was confident UnionPay would become a major card issuer in the future.

"I think the competition (among UnionPay, Visa and Master) is healthy. I think Visa and Master cards are also fine cards, but UnionPay is now held by even more people than Visa and Master card. And I think UnionPay will be a very strong competitor in the years ahead," Don told Xinhua in an interview.

"Basically, it works for anyone goes to China particularly, or Chinese people who visit New Zealand," Don Brash told Xinhua.

"It's a dual currency card. It's debit and credit. If you are in New Zealand, you can have your account debit in New Zealand dollars; if you are in China, you can have your debit in yuan."

"So we think it's a great stimulus for trade between New Zealand and China, tourism between New Zealand and China. It will be increasingly used by merchants around the country," he said.

"If you travel in anywhere in Asia in fact, UnionPay is increasingly used throughout the Asian region and it's a very accessible card for that reason," he said.

David Lee, director and chief cooperation officer of UnionPay International, shared the same optimism about UnionPay's expansion in New Zealand.

"It will provide a lot of conveniences for the consumers here. I'm quite confident that this card will be well received in New Zealand."

Wang Lutong, Chinese ambassador to New Zealand, hailed the launch of the ICBC card given the surge of trade, tourism and education between the two countries.

"China now is New Zealand's biggest trading partner and source of overseas students. I hope the cooperation between the financial institutions will follow the trend and play a pivotal role."

ICBC launches first UnionPay credit card in New Zealand
ICBC launches first UnionPay credit card in New Zealand
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