UnionPay International (UPI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese payment firm UnionPay, has teamed up with Sweden-based Swedbank, to expand the acceptance of its cards in the Baltic region.

The collaboration will enable thousands of merchants to accept UnionPay card payments in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The three nations in the Baltic region are said to attract large number of Chinese tourists.  Hence, the partnership will also help meet the payment demands of visiting tourists and business travellers.

Latvia and Estonia are in the list of the top ten European destinations and reported the fastest growth in Chinese visitors during the first six months of 2019, according to Ctrip.com.

China UnionPay president Shi Wenchao said: “Due to the continuous increase of its acceptance and issuance scope worldwide, UnionPay has become a preferred cross-border payment method by an increasing number of customers in and outside China, bringing payment convenience to the exchanges among different countries and regions.

“The partnership with Swedbank has leveraged on the advantages of both parties, and thereby substantially enhanced the service capacity of the UnionPay network in the region. UnionPay looks forward to carrying out deeper collaboration with Swedbank in more fields including local card issuance, mobile payments, and joint marketing. “

Swedbank board member I. Vigante said: “With more tourists and business travellers visiting the Baltic region, the acceptance of UnionPay cards enables these customers to make payments in the way they prefer. Swedbank is willing to further deepen its partnership with UnionPay, so as to bring benefits to cardholders, issuers and merchants.”

In the future, Swedbank will enable UnionPay acceptance at local ATMs and online merchants. The lender will also work with UnionPay to accept mobile payment through UnionPay QuickPass.

At present, UnionPay is accepted by more than 90% of merchants in European countries with almost 100% acceptance in Switzerland, Spain and Portugal.

Recently, Denmark-based payments group Nets collaborated with UnionPay International to enable its merchants to accept UnionPay card payments in Finland.