SHANGHAI, Nov. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- On the site of the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) at the National Convention and Exhibition Center (Shanghai), the commercial card solution brought by UnionPay International (UPI) catches the eyes of several exhibitors from Central Asia. "This product helps businesses manage the travel expenses of their employees and is tailored for the payment demand of professionals in cross-border trade. We have received several client queries these days," explains a UPI staff member.
UPI has stepped up efforts to enhance its capabilities to facilitate payments made by visitors to China. Outside China's mainland, over 200 million UnionPay cards have been issued and 180 UnionPay-standard wallets launched, providing exhibitors with more convenient payment options. A variety of signature products have also appeared at the CIIE such as commercial cards, integrated B2B solutions and the Shop the World platform, which meet the diverse payment needs in cross-border trade. Together with Bank of China (BOC), the official strategic partner of the event, UPI has rolled out a wealth of offers, cash rebates and exclusive privileges.
Diversified Payment Options in China for International Exhibitors
At the booth of Serbia, one of the guest countries of honor at the Country Exhibition, 24 businesses have made a collective appearance, a record number of Serbian exhibitors at the event as media reports suggest. In line with the deepening economic and trade cooperation between China and Serbia, the Balkan country's national payment system DinaCard issued UnionPay cards for the first time in 2022, drawing a large number of card applications from Serbian residents, and over 400,000 cards have been delivered in slightly more than a year.
The card issuance project in Serbia is a snapshot of UPI's efforts to accelerate business localization and enhance the cross-border payment experience for people outside China's mainland, especially when they visit China. To that end, UPI has actively contributed to the improvement of the payment service system for visitors to China, which involves card payments for large-amount transactions, QR payments for small-ticket purchases and cash payments as a backup method. Currently, UnionPay cards have been issued in 78 countries and regions outside China's mainland, and over 170 million cards have been issued in the participating countries and regions of the Belt and Road Initiative. One out of every four new cards issued in the Asia-Pacific region carries the UnionPay brand. At the CIIE, UPI has signed a large-scale card issuance agreement with an Australian financial institution. These cards can be used on a cross-border basis and are accepted by 25 million merchants and on 880,000 ATMs in China's mainland. In Shanghai, for instance, the cards can transact on POS terminals at merchant locations frequented by international visitors such as commercial zones, cultural and tourism sites, airports, and railway stations. Key merchants cover transport hubs including the Hongqiao International Airport, Pudong International Airport, Hongqiao Railway Station, and Shanghai Railway Station.
With the changes of consumers' payment habits, UnionPay-powered wallets have increasingly become the preferred payment method for a growing number of international exhibitors to pay in China's mainland. In recent years, UPI has ramped up digital wallet collaboration with international card issuers and payment companies. This allows apps outside the Chinese mainland to make QR payments to global UnionPay QR merchants, including those in the mainland, by linking local UnionPay cards or issuing UnionPay virtual cards. More than a hundred of such wallets have been rolled out in 35 countries and regions outside China's mainland, including well-known applications such as Malaysia's GoPayz, K PLUS by Thailand's Kasikornbank and South Korea's NaverPay. Users of these wallets can make seamless QR payments in China's mainland without additional apps.
Abundant Benefits and Offers for Spending in China
UPI signed a Memorandum of Co-operation to Support the Sixth China International Import Expo with the Shanghai Branch of BOC, the official strategic partner of the CIIE. The Chinese lender has issued millions of UnionPay cards outside China's mainland. Its banking apps in markets such as Hong Kong and Macao SARs, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Australia all support UnionPay QR payment. These products have become familiar cross-border payment tools for exhibitors coming to the mainland. During the CIIE, exhibitors can enjoy exclusive cash rebates when using UnionPay credit cards issued by BOC (Hong Kong), BOC Macau Branch and BOC Singapore Branch, and holders of the BOC Greater Bay Area Youth Card can enjoy an extra cash rebate up to 6%.
UnionPay also provides multiple benefits and offers to international exhibitors. Visa centers in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne of Australia, Jakarta of Indonesia, Tokyo of Japan and Seoul of South Korea have launched fast-track visa services for UnionPay cardholders. Particularly, international cardholders using UnionPay cards or UnionPay standard wallets can enjoy CNY 30 off for spending of CNY 200 or more at New World City Plaza, Jiu Guang Department Store, Bicester Village Shanghai and other malls in well-known shopping districts. The Oriental Pearl Tower, Lianhua Supermarket, McDonald's and other merchants in the culture, tourism, grocery, and F&B sectors have also announced CNY 20 off for every purchase over CNY 50 exclusively for these cardholders.
Innovative Products for Cross-Border Trade
While enhancing the inbound payment experience of overseas exhibitors, UPI has also launched innovative payment products and solutions in line with its strengths in network, product and service to meet the diversified payment needs in cross-border trade. Such offering has attracted the attention of cross-border e-commerce retailers, import and export businesses and multinational corporations in and outside China's mainland.
Since the opening of the CIIE, UPI's integrated B2B solution has invited many queries from exhibitors with its "end-to-end" features. Various product offerings such as cross-border e-commerce solutions, digital card issuing schemes for commercial card, and innovative payment solutions for overseas enterprises can meet the cross-border payment needs of businesses and facilitate the digital transformation of trade. Among them, UnionPay commercial products, including business card, corporate card and purchase card, have reached million-level issuance in over ten countries and regions such as Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Shop the World platform developed by UPI empowers international merchants as they tap into the Chinese market. A Southeast-Asian seller expressed the interest to access the platform on the spot, "UnionPay's Shop the World is a good channel. The UnionPay card has a wide customer base in China, and through this platform, we can bring our products to more Chinese consumers." In addition, in order to reduce the operating costs of non-Chinese merchants, UPI offers storefront management services alongside diverse marketing tools to help merchants attract more customers.