European expansion slated by Barclays and UnionPay
(9 April 2019 – United Kingdom) Chinese payments giant UnionPay has established a partnership with Barclay's, which processes almost half of the UK's credit and debit card transactions, that will allow 110,000 UK merchants to accept UnionPay beginning in mid-2019.
UnionPay and Barclay's are relying on a steady uptrend in Chinese tourists in the UK. China's UnionPay is stepping up European expansion in a bid to capture business from Chinese outbound tourism and corporate travel. China’s UnionPay, the world's largest issuer of bank cards, has been pushing acceptance for some time in regions where Chinese business and leisure travellers frequent. CEO of UnionPay International, Cai Jianbo stated that UnionPay International has been improving its acceptance in Europe over the past few years. UnionPay’s acceptance coverage in Europe has exceeded 60 percent.
The tie up with Barclays follows UnionPay and Moorwand's January launch of the multicurrency card, UPayCard, to the UK market. As a result of its partnership with Moorwand, UnionPay does not need to apply for licenses to operate in the UK. In March, Barclaycard and Alipay closed a deal that will allow merchants to accept in-store Alipay payments without replacing their existing point-of-sale (POS) system. Alipay users will be able to search for retail outlets near their location to find out business hours, information about sales and directions.
"The UK remains a strategically important and growing market for UnionPay and, with Chinese visitors set to increase, today’s partnership will enable them to more easily and conveniently shop at a much greater number of British merchants," said Wei Zhihong, UnionPay International’s Market Director and Head of its European Branch, in a statement. "We are looking forward to building a long successful partnership with UnionPay, and playing a major role in helping to grow their presence even further in Europe," Moorwand CEO Robert Courtneidge said in a statement.