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UK bank to offer Chinese payment options

By Cecily Liu | | Updated: 2018-03-09 01:51
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Santander keen to open up two-way commercial links

British bank Santander UK is to enable business customers to accept payment directly from China UnionPay and other leading Chinese payment wallet providers.

From 2018 onwards, when companies sell products to China through e-commerce platforms Santander and its partner Elavon will accept online payment from China UnionPay and other leading Chinese fintech companies.

In China, currently the e-payment market is dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay, China UnionPay is making efforts to regain the turf it has lost to others in the previous years.

By then, Chinese online shoppers can make their payment via these alternative methods, so the money will go directly to the British retailers using Santander and Elavon services.

The current number of online retail shoppers in China is estimated to be 460 million, and according to research by Goldman Sachs, the country’s online retail sales are expected to grow to $1.7 trillion by 2020.

Michael Vallance, managing director of transaction banking at Santander Corporate Banking, said: “In working with Elavon to make these exciting Chinese payment solutions available, we are not only enabling UK businesses to accept more types of alternative payments as quickly as possible, we are also giving British retailers access to the Chinese e-commerce market, where the demand for quality UK goods is continuing to increase.

"We can now therefore support UK businesses entering this market without necessarily the need for a physical footprint in China.”

Hannah Fitzsimons, General Manager for Elavon Europe, added: “With the growing spending power of Chinese consumers, it’s important that businesses offer payment brands which are familiar and accessible to this important target audience.”

China UnionPay is already accepted in a limited number of locations in the UK popular with Chinese tourists, including London’s Harrods and Selfridges.

Elavon is also working on making China UnionPay acceptable at its physical payment points in the UK by the end of 2018.

This new initiative is being launched with a view to attract the growing number of Chinese expats and students living in the UK, and Chinese tourists in the UK.

According to figures from the tax refund provider Global Blue, Chinese tourists spent on average 922 pounds ($1280) in 2017, a growth of 23.5 percent from 2016.

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