Global business booms for China's UnionPay

Tracy Li
UnionPay International says more than 28 million merchants outside of China's mainland now accept its services.
Tracy Li

UnionPay International (UPI), a subsidiary of China UnionPay, announced recently that the number of merchants outside of China’s mainland accepting its services has surpassed 28 million.

The first six months of 2019 alone saw an increase of 2 million overseas merchant partners, according to the company.

Meanwhile, UPI said it has further expanded its existing cashback rewards program, with eight of China’s major commercial banks issuing UnionPay cashback rewards cards. All 28 million overseas merchants are covered in the cashback rewards scheme, as well as other promotional programs offered by the company.

The UnionPay acceptance footprint has expanded to 174 countries and regions so far, according to the firm. In both the Asia Pacific and Europe regions, UnionPay payments are available at about 90 percent of merchants. And around 80 percent of merchants in the US now accept payments with UnionPay credit cards.

Statistics from UPI also reveal a growing acceptance rate in emerging travel destinations such as Russia, where the entire country will accept UnionPay payments within the year. In Africa, 50 countries and regions now accept UnionPay payments and acceptance coverage in India increased by 700,000 merchants in the first half.

In July, UnionPay unveiled its first cross-border cashback rewards program, with eight commercial banks in China launching cashback rewards credit cards, including Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Cardholders shopping at overseas or online merchants accepting UnionPay services enjoy a one-percent cashback reward for each purchase, with the maximum reward capped at 1,000 yuan (US$140) per month. The rewards are available in conjunction with other promotion benefits.

Also, UPI is launching wide promotions for the upcoming “Golden Week” holiday. These promotions include cashback rewards, discounts at merchants and digital “red envelopes” in the UnionPay mobile application, as well as special discount offers for UnionPay cardholders in 80 travel destinations worldwide.

The number of outbound tourists during the upcoming Chinese National Day holiday is expected to reach a new record high, according to statistics from the China National Tourism Administration.

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