UnionPay teams up with mainstream institutions in six countries along the Belt and Road

BEIJING, April 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — 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 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 People’s Bank of China, Madam Vathana Dalaloy, Deputy Governor of the Bank of the Lao P.D.R, and Mr. Shao Fujun, Chairman of China UnionPay attended this signing ceremony. Mr. Cai Jianbo, CEO of UPI signed agreements with the heads of relevant institutions.

Since the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative, 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 Belt and Road countries and regions 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).

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.

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.