UnionPay International (UPI) has partnered with BCEL, a commercial bank in Laos, to launch QR code payment service in the country.

The move will enable UnionPay app users to make payments by scanning QR code at local stores in Laos.

With China being one of the largest tourist source countries of Laos, the collaboration will also help local merchants to cater to the Chinese visitors.

According to UPI, UnionPay is the first bankcard scheme to launch QR code service in the Southeast Asian country.

UPI CEO Cai Jianbo said: “Since the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative, UnionPay has taken deep participation in the development of Laos payment industry through promoting card acceptance and issuance as well as participating in the building of local payment infrastructure, and have achieved much progress in our business localisation in the country.

“Now, UPI further expands its local service scope to mobile payments, not only meeting the mobile payment needs of visiting tourists, but also supporting the digitalisation of Laos payment industry.”

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In the recent years, UPI has taken steps to bolster its mobile payment business footprint outside mainland.

Currently, UnionPay App users can avail mobile payment services at more than three million merchants across 46 countries and regions.

Recently, Cambodian lender Acleda Bank partnered with UPI to offer contactless debit cards. The Chinese firm also teamed up with U Mobile to launch GoPayz e-wallet in Malaysia.