UnionPay increases payment convenience for travellers in China

170 international wallets can now be used in China, with more expected by the end of the year

Robert Prendergast September 18 2023

UnionPay International (UPI) has announced that 170 international wallets can now be directly used at merchants that accept UnionPay in China. This brings a big change to the payment experience for global travellers in China’s mainland.

Hong Kong and Macao SAR residents can now use options like the UnionPay App, Octopus card, and BoC Pay. Other international wallets, including Malaysia’s GoPayz, Thailand’s K PLUS, and South Korea’s NaverPay, allow travellers to scan UnionPay QR codes for payments. Since the start of the year, Southeast Asian payment networks like Malaysia’s PayNet, Vietnam’s NAPAS, and Cambodia’s Bakong have all reached agreements with UnionPay.

UPI’s new “network interconnection and interoperability” cooperation model is another step in UPI’s global expansion. It actively promotes the interconnection between payment networks in China and internationally while supporting the coordinated development of domestic and international payment products. This has brought increased conveniences for international travellers in China.

Thai tourist Kittiphan was visiting Hangzhou and commented: “I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that our local Thai K+ wallet can directly scan QR codes to pay in China. I experienced it myself in Hangzhou this time and it was super convenient.”

More wallet products to come in 2023

International partners and users have welcomed UPI’s latest addition, as it offers five significant advantages that include, a seamless connection, no additional costs, better privacy protection, customer risk identification that ensures safer cross-border transactions, as well as a wide range of application scenarios.

In recent years, the digital transformation of the global payment industry has been accelerating with Chinese payment financial institutions represented by UnionPay actively creating a smooth and interconnected global payment network. UPI cooperates with international banks and payment companies to support wallets to bind UnionPay cards or issue UnionPay virtual cards within the app. 170 of these wallet products have been launched in 35 countries and regions, and it is expected that the number will exceed 200 by the end of the year. UPI also cooperates on transit network technology standards, QR code standards, and chip card standards with many central banks, national transit networks, and payment alliances around the world.

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