UnionPay cards to serve more residents and support personnel exchanges along the Belt and Road
UnionPay teams up with mainstream institutions in six countries along the Belt and Road
2019-04-23

Mr. Fan Yifei (4th right back), Deputy Governor of the PBC, Madam Vathana Dalaloy (3rd right back), Deputy Governor of the Bank of the Lao P.D.R, Mr. Wen Xinxiang (4th left back), Director General of Payment and Settlement Department of the PBC, Mr. Li Wei (3rd left back), Director General of the Technology Department of the PBC, Mr. Zhang Zhengxin (1st right back), Deputy Director General of International Department of the PBC, and Mr. Shao Fujun (1st left back), Chairman of China UnionPay attended this signing ceremony. Mr. Cai Jianbo (3rd left front), CEO of UPI signed agreements with the heads of BCEL, Kasikorn Bank, Ambank, BCA, BOTIM and Aloqabank

On 23th April UnionPay International (UPI) signed cooperation agreements with mainstream institutions from Indonesia, Lao, Thailand, The UAE, and Uzbekistan in Beijing, involving both the traditional and digital issuance of UnionPay cards, and the construction of bank card local payment networks. Meanwhile, UPI also announced that the first major local bank in Indonesia and Malaysia would issue the UnionPay credit card. It reflects the new stage of the development of UnionPay's overseas business, the latest achievements of UPI to localize its business through multiple measures along the Belt and Road, and its support to personnel exchanges along this area.  

Mr. Fan Yifei, Deputy Governor of the PBC, Madam Vathana Dalaloy, Deputy Governor of the Bank of the Lao P.D.R, Mr. Wen Xinxiang, Director General of Payment and Settlement Department of the PBC, Mr. Li Wei, Director General of the Technology Department of the PBC, Mr. Zhang Zhengxin,Deputy Director General of International Department of the PBC, and Mr. Shao Fujun, Chairman of China UnionPay attended this signing ceremony. Mr. Cai Jianbo, CEO of UPI signed agreements with the heads of BCEL, Kasikorn Bank, Ambank, BCA, BOTIM and Aloqabank with the witness of representatives from AllinPay, China UMS, Lakala Group, CITS, CTS, Aoyou.com under CYTS, Utour, and Tuniu.com. 

Since the start of the Belt and Road, UnionPay has promoted the formation of an intra-regional and interconnected payment network by accelerating the acceptance and card issuances, launching mobile payment products, jointly implementing payment standards, and participating in the construction of payment infrastructure. Now there are 106 countries and regions along the “Belt and Road” offering UnionPay services, with more than 43 million UnionPay cards issued and an acceptance scope covering over 12 million merchants and 800,000 ATMs. The number of cards issued, merchants and ATM coverage have increased by over 25 times, eight times and three times respectively compared to before the Belt and Road Initiative. In addition UnionPay mobile payment services are currently available in 31 countries and regions, with bank card local payment networks in Lao and Thailand built on UnionPay’s technologies and standards. UnionPay also authorized the chip card standards to Asian Payment Network (APN) and Myanmar Payment Union (MPU). Earlier this month, UPI inked an MoU with the Sarawak State Government of Malaysia to upgrade Sarawak Pay and extend its usable range acceptance from Sarawak to UnionPay’s domestic Malaysia and overseas acceptance network.

Mr. Fan Yifei said that payment is a significant pathway to realize the connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people in the Belt and Road Initiative. UnionPay continues to promote its payment services along the Belt and Road, and made positive progress in card issuance and innovative products. Meanwhile, UnionPay also cooperated with countries in this region for payment system construction. The series of collaborations announced today further demonstrated the new achievements of the win-win cooperation between the Chinese payment industry and the countries along the Belt and Road. The upgrades of payment industries in relevant countries and regions also helped to develop the local economies. He encouraged UnionPay to actively communicate with overseas markets to facilitate the smooth implementation of payment-related work streams along the Belt and Road. Meanwhile, UnionPay should also cooperate with mainstream institutions along the Belt and Road to improve the payment service environment, and accelerate the promotion of innovation products like mobile payment, represented by the UnionPay App. 

Mr. Shao Fujun said that UnionPay continues to put more emphasis and investment in the markets and business initiatives along the Belt and Road to demonstrate its willingness to cooperate on specific payment projects and execute them accordingly. This cooperation has important significance in markets involved: First, it marked the increased ability of UnionPay’s network, products, and service to serve local residents among the Belt and Road, supporting the increased personnel exchanges between China and relevant countries and regions. Second, it could serve as a good model for cooperation between UnionPay and more mainstream institutions. Third, it could satisfy the diversified demands from various markets with their payment industry at different levels of development. Also, it could contribute to the upgrade of the payment industry in the area and increase the global influence of Chinese payment brand. 

At today’s ceremony, UPI signed the MoU with BCEL, Lao’s largest commercial bank, to establish a joint venture with eight local institutions and jointly operate the Lao National Bank Card Payment System. UnionPay would participate in the operations of this joint venture. This is another new development after UnionPay helped Lao to build its payment system in 2015. In 2018, Bank of Lao P.D.R proposed to establish a joint venture with UnionPay to further enhance the modernization of local financial payment infrastructure.

Madam Vathana Dalaloy said that the new joint venture company will continuously strengthen Lao’s capacity and specialization in retail payment systems, not only to develop and modernize retail payment services in Lao PDR, but also become a major contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative.

The remaining four projects to be signed are: First, major local banks in Indonesia and Thailand would carry out the first large-scale issuance of the UnionPay premium cards. Bank Central Asia (BCA), one of the largest banks in Indonesia, plans to issue UnionPay Platinum credit cards. Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank will issue multiple UnionPay cards as well. Second, BOTIM, the largest real-time communication software in the UAE, plans to issue UnionPay virtual cards on a large scale to enable its users to make payments through scanning the UnionPay QR code. Third, a few agreements on card issuance including the UnionPay credit card and Unionpay Premium Card were signed with Uzbekistan’s Aloqabank. On the same day, AmBank in Malaysia became the first major local bank to issue the UnionPay credit card. It was also the first UnionPay credit card supporting the contactless payment service locally.

It is reported that UPI is providing innovative technical standards for bank card payment network organizations in the countries and regions along the Belt and Road in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. For example, UPI will sign the cooperation agreements with the central banks or local payment networks of Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine and Belarus. At the same time, UPI is also committed to accelerating the launch of UnionPay QR code standards overseas, and promoting the adoption of UnionPay QR code technical standards as local industry standards by regulators in Southeast Asia and other areas.