YEREVAN, Armenia, Oct. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- UnionPay International announced today that it has entered into cooperation with ACBA to enable UnionPay acceptance at merchants and ATM terminals of ACBA, realizing the acceptance of UnionPay cards in Armenia for the first time. With this collaboration, UnionPay acceptance footprint extends to 177 countries and regions. Shao Fujun, Chairman of China UnionPay, Cai Jianbo, Chairman of UnionPay International, and Arsen Melkonyan, Vice President of ACBA, attended this signing ceremony. Tian ErLong, Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, and Vakhtang Abrahamyan, Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Armenia, were presented to witness.
So far, the UnionPay card acceptance rate in Central Asia and Transcaucasia is about 70%. In Kazakhstan, UnionPay has achieved 100% acceptance, and in Uzbekistan and Georgia, the UnionPay acceptance rate has reached 80%. Based on its expanding acceptance network, UnionPay has enabled card issuance in 6 countries in the region. In Kazakhstan, 1.8 million UnionPay cards are issued, and in Uzbekistan, UnionPay card has been the payroll cards for the local residents. Furthermore, UnionPay mobile payment has been launched in this area. In Kazakhstan and Georgia, users of the UnionPay app can scan QR code to pay at many merchants.
Shao Fujun said the accelerated implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative has led to the increasing cross-border payment demand between China and markets along the Belt and Road. In answer to this, UnionPay continues to improve its payment services in the region. Central Asia and Transcaucasia is a core region along the Silk Road Economic Belt. The acceptance of UnionPay cards in Armenia further improves UnionPay service capability in the region, and contributes to the interconnection and interworking of payment network along the Belt and Road. In the future, UnionPay will carry out more cooperation with institutions in Armenia in terms of card acceptance, card issuance and innovative payment, to enhance business contacts between Armenia and Russia/Central Asia.
Tian Erlong said this partnership is a result of the deepening bilateral cooperation between China and Armenia. It is also a measure for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative. The rollout of UnionPay payment services in Armenia will further promote the payment experience of visiting Chinese tourists, facilitate the personnel exchanges and trade between the two countries, and lay a foundation for financial cooperation between China and Armenia.
In accordance with the agreement, ACBA will enable all of its merchants and ATMs to accept UnionPay cards within half of a year, covering airports, shopping centers, restaurants and hotels, to meet the payment demands of tourists visiting Armenia. It is anticipated that the overall acceptance rate of UnionPay cards in Armenia will exceed 50% within 2020.
Arsen Melkonyan said, "We are honored to see UnionPay International among our international partners. This will contribute to the development of Armenian economy and its tourism sector in particular, as UnionPay cardholders from China and other countries will now easily use their cards in our country. This is an important step towards strengthening the cooperation between our countries and we are proud to have our contribution to this important undertaking. I am sure that this first step will be followed by many more joint initiatives between our Bank and UnionPay International."
Currently, UnionPay is present in more than 80% of the countries and regions having signed the cooperation agreements with China for the co-construction of the Belt and Road, covering about 10 million merchants and 700,000 ATMs. UnionPay has reached 100% acceptance in 24 countries and regions like Singapore, Malaysia, UAE and Pakistan. So far, over 83 million UnionPay cards have been issued in markets along the Belt and Road. UnionPay has become the No.1 card brand in Laos, Mongolia and Myanmar in terms of card issuance. Besides, UnionPay mobile payment products and services have been launched in 31 countries and regions along the Belt and Road, covering more than 3 million merchants.
SOURCE UnionPay International