South Africa-based Standard Bank has entered into an agreement to accept UnionPay International’s cards in various African markets by the end of this year.

The move is intended to improve the country’s access to China and to simplify Chinese transactions in Africa.

Under the agreement, Standard Bank customers will be provided with access to all UnionPay-enabled platforms and will be able to use card to buy goods in China.

They will have access to China’s e-commerce marketplace where goods can be remotely selected and paid for electronically using Standard Bank cards.

Standard Bank executive head of Pan Africa China Banking George Lo said: “African entrepreneurs and importers of Chinese goods and services have, traditionally, had to travel to China carrying foreign currency in cash for conversion into renminbi.

“They will soon be able to purchase goods directly from suppliers throughout China at the swipe of a card.”

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UnionPay expects that the deal to boost its geographic footprint and customer reach in Africa.

UnionPay International vice-president Larry Wang said: “UnionPay strives to ensure convenient and safe payment services to a growing number global UnionPay cardholders visiting Africa, an increasingly important business and leisure destination.

“We also look forward to collaborating with Standard Bank in card issuance – providing exciting new payment options for new African customers.”