China UnionPay has partnered with payment processing firm Allied Wallet to issue co-branded cards across European markets.

The partnership is expected to support China UnionPay’s expansion in Europe.

The co-branded cards can be used when European consumers travel to Asia. The reach of the cards may be expanded but customers travelling abroad are not the primary target.

UnionPay head of Europe Zhilhong Wei said: “In Europe, we want to target local customers in the domestic market, not only people travelling to Asia.”

The partners plan to issue UnionPay-branded cards from December this year, with a goal to reach 10 million cards in the first year.

Allied Wallet will be responsible for the issuing and transactions of the co-branded cards. This will eliminate the need for China UnionPay to hold a licence for its European expansion.

Allied Wallet CEO Andy Khawaja said: “China UnionPay cards are accepted by over 40 million merchants in the world and in millions of ATMs. We look forward to giving more people an opportunity to use these cards.”

The announcement comes after UnionPay revealed plans to launch prepaid virtual cards for corporate clients in the UK from October this year.

Accessible through a digital wallet, the virtual cards will be mainly for customers who frequently travel to China.