China’s UnionPay (CUP) says its “Belt and Road” initiative has taken off through multiple measures—local card issuance, exchange students service and innovative services—on the basis of the expansion of its acceptance footprint.
Now, nearly 50 of the over 60 countries and regions along the “Belt and Road” accept UnionPay cards.
UnionPay top management has paid frequent visits to Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Burma, Slovenia, Thailand, and Jordan since last year. All these are important markets along the “Belt and Road” with business progresses in various fields of card acceptance, card issuance, and infrastructure construction.
As the center of Central Asia, Kazakhstan has made substantial breakthroughs in UnionPay card business. To date, over 70% of the local ATMs and over 60% of the POS terminals accept UnionPay cards; and these two figures are expected to reach 80% within this year.
Meanwhile, mainstream institutions are issuing UnionPay cards on a large scale. Halyk Bank, for instance, will have cumulatively issued 1.1 million UnionPay cards by the end of this year, and it should be noted that this figure was only 200,000 in last August.
The situation is similar in Pakistan. UnionPay cards are accepted at almost all POS terminals and over 70% of the ATMs. A total of 2 million UnionPay cards have been issued locally.
In Russia, UnionPay International has signed several cooperation agreements with local institutions. According to these agreements, the number of UnionPay cards about to be issued will be the sum of that in the past few years.
The latest first-quarter data shows that UnionPay cards issued in Pakistan, Russia and Uzbekistan have witnessed active transactions; local transactions volume of Russia-issued UnionPay cards has grown over 5 times; and transaction volume of Kazakhstan-issued UnionPay cards at Hong Kong merchants has also grown about 5 times.
In Laos, the local National Bankcard Payment System co-constructed by UnionPay and other parties has gone live.
In Thailand, UnionPay chip card standard has become the local industry standard. Meanwhile, UnionPay International has established a joint venture with major local banks, and has constructed the local switching system TPN (Thai Payment Network) based on UnionPay technical standard. Thailand is planning to build its owned debit card brand on the basis of TPN.
In addition, UnionPay International has sponsored the “High-level Seminar for Central Bankers and Regulators” organized by the Chinese University of Hong Kong for three consecutive years.
The seminar’s participants are non-G20 central bankers and representatives of financial institutions, and many are from markets along the “Belt and Road”. Building a platform, UnionPay International has promoted the communication and cooperation among the “Belt and Road” countries and regions.
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