Citibank, the world’s leading consumer bank, and China UnionPay, the only national bankcard association in China with more than 800 million cards issued, today announced that they have entered into a major new strategic alliance.
The alliance was officially struck at a ceremony in Shanghai today, where the agreement was signed by Mr. William Rhodes, Senior Vice Chairman of Citigroup, Chairman of Citibank, and Mr. WAN Jianhua, CEO of China UnionPay. The innovative development will allow the acceptance of CUP cards at Citibank’s ATM network around the world, and also benefit Citibank international cardholders, who will be able to use their cards at foreign-enabled CUP ATM’s when in China. The alliance is the first of its kind that China UnionPay has struck with an international bank on a global basis.
The agreement, once in effect, will generate significant benefits for customers of both CUP and Citibank. It will provide CUP cardholders with safe and secure payment services when they are abroad, and is set to benefit the millions of Chinese citizens who are expected to travel internationally in the coming years. The World Tourism Organization expects that there will be 100 million tourists traveling outside of China by 2020. Globally, Citibank operates a proprietary ATM network covering more than 50 countries. Chinese holders of CUP cards will now have the convenience of being able to withdraw foreign currency from Citibank ATM’s when traveling around the world, without needing a dual currency card. Citibank international cardholders will in turn have the convenience of access to approximately 8,000 foreign-enabled CUP ATM’s when traveling in China. This number is expected to grow as CUP continues to enable more ATM’s to accept foreign cards.
Mr. Richard Stanley, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup China, said, “As the leading international bank in China, and one that is strongly committed to contributing to China’s ongoing development, Citibank is excited to have this opportunity to partner with China UnionPay. Given our global reach and the fact we are one of very few international banks that own our ATM network, we are uniquely positioned to support China UnionPay achieve its business goals. We are also excited that through our partnership with China UnionPay, we will be able to provide services to our own international Citibank customers as they travel in China. We look forward to building upon this alliance and further developing our relationship with China UnionPay to the benefit of all our customers.”
Mr. LIU Yongchun, Executive Vice President of China UnionPay,said, “As the only national bankcard association and an emerging card brand, China UnionPay is pleased to be partnering closely with one of the world’s leading retail banking brands, as we continue to enhance our network to meet the changing needs of CUP cardholders. This alliance will make it even easier for CUP cardholders to use their cards while traveling internationally, and makes a significant contribution to our efforts to ensure that the CUP card becomes a safe and reliable payment instrument around the world.”
The new alliance continues Citibank’s track record as the leading foreign bank operating in China. Citibank was the first bank to deploy foreign-card enabled ATM’s in China, which it has been doing for more than a decade. Citibank was the first foreign bank to enter the retail banking business in China in the post-WTO era when it opened its Peace Hotel consumer outlet in Shanghai in 2002, and currently has 9 retail outlets in 5 cities with several more in process.
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Citibank first established an office in China on May 15, 1902, in Shanghai to serve foreign and local corporations. Today Citibank is the premier foreign bank in China. The company currently operates five corporate banking branches – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin, nine consumer banking outlets – Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and two representative offices in Xiamen and Chengdu (currently being upgraded to a branch). Doing business in over 100 counties, Citibank is the most global of all foreign banks in China.
Citibank is a member of Citigroup (NYSE: C), the preeminent global financial services company with some 200 million customer accounts in more than 100 countries, which provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage, and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup’s trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at: [www.citigroup.com].
About China UnionPay
China UnionPay Co., Ltd, approved by the State Council and licensed by the People’s Bank of China, is a shareholding financial service institution established through capital contributions by more than 80 domestic financial institutions. The Shanghai-based China UnionPay (“CUP”) was officially incorporated on March 26, 2002. To date, CUP has altogether 18 branches and166 members, among which 23 are overseas financial institutions. Major subsidiaries under CUP include CUP Merchant Services, CUP Data, ChinaPay e-Payment, China Financial Certification Authority, etc.
CUP is committed both at home and abroad to improving the bankcard acceptance environment. It has achieved the goal of nationwide bankcards interoperability and launched successively the CUP card acceptance in Hong Kong, Macao in 2004, and Singapore, Korea and Thailand in early 2005. CUP will continue to develop the overseas acceptance network to realize the vision of “touring the world with a CUP card” and build the CUP brand into an international payment brand. Additional information may be found at: [www.chinaunionpay.com/englishversion]