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China UnionPay’s Project Excellence 2024 enhances global payment services

Payments

UnionPay’s Project Excellence 2024 aims to optimize payment services in China for seniors and international visitors, promoting an inclusive ecosystem.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – The launch ceremony for Explore China Your Way with UnionPay: China UnionPay Payment Service Optimization – Project Excellence 2024 was held in Shanghai. Mr. Zhang Qingsong, Member of the CPC People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Committee and Deputy Governor of the PBOC, and Ms. Xie Dong, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, attended the ceremony and delivered remarks. The event was also attended by Mr. Wang Ping, Deputy Secretary-General of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, Mr. Jin Penghui and Mr. Liu Xingya, Deputy Directors of the Shanghai Head Office of the PBOC, Mr. Wang Sheng, Deputy Director-General of the PBOC Payment and Settlement Department, as well as the leadership from China UnionPay, including Mr. Dong Junfeng, as well as Mr. Shao Fujun, Chairman, and Mr. Cai Jianbo, President. Other members of the audience included representatives from the Shanghai municipal authorities, major Chinese commercial banks, acquirers, merchants, overseas regulators, international partners and other global card schemes.

The State Council recently issued guidelines to further optimize payment services in China. The document aims to address the bottlenecks in payment services and improve a multi-layered and diversified payment service system in line with the payment preferences of different user groups. The release of the guidelines fully demonstrates the significance attached by the central government to the development of the payment industry and serves as a roadmap for the future growth of the industry. It is essential for building a payment service system where different payment options develop in parallel and complement each other, and for creating an inclusive and convenient payment environment to facilitate the high-quality development of the payment industry.

In order to fully implement the requirements provided by the guidelines, China UnionPay has taken the initiative to launch Project Excellence 2024 to fully participate in the campaign to improve payment convenience for the senior citizens and international visitors to China. With the goal of delivering full solutions for all use cases across China, Project Excellence 2024 will be jointly implemented and co-funded by industry participants. Specifically, China UnionPay will take the lead and direct CNY 3 billion to focus on acceptance terminal upgrades, signage placement and publicity, etc. in key cities and use cases. At the same time, led by government authorities in specific sectors, UnionPay will encourage other industry players to pool their resources. The efforts will cover 41 key cities nationwide and 26 high-frequency use cases in eight major categories including F&B, accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, healthcare, and education. By providing comprehensive payment solutions that include cards, QR codes, OEM pay products, and cash withdrawal, the undertaking will drive parallel while complementary development of mobile, card and cash payments. Project Excellence 2024 will start in Shanghai with marketing campaigns throughout the year under the theme Explore China Your Way with UnionPay, aiming at providing more discounts and options as well as a better experience.

During the event, Mr. Zhang Qingsong, Deputy Governor of the PBOC, stated that the rapid development and accelerated penetration of mobile payment in China in recent years have been pivotal in reducing transaction costs and promoting financial inclusion; however, new challenges have also emerged, such as the digital divide for the elderly population and barriers for international visitors to China. To implement the decision and arrangements by the central government, the PBOC has swiftly set up a dedicated working group to put in place a series of measures in line with the State Council guidelines. He acknowledges China UnionPay’s quick action to pool resources with other parties, and encourages all entities to strengthen synergy and provide the resources necessary to achieve substantial results in making payments more convenient. Shanghai, as one of the main destinations for inbound travelers, has gained valuable experience in supporting the China International Import Expo (CIIE). He hopes that the city can continue to set a good example in effectively implementing more measures aiming at increasing payment convenience. The PBOC will work with relevant parties, further develop payment use cases, and coordinate efforts to address any shortcomings and weaknesses. It will make payment services more heart-warming and broadly-covering so as to contribute to China’s high-standard opening up, an optimized business environment in China, as well as greater happiness and sense of gain of the people.

Ms. Xie Dong, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, said that payment is the foundation of economy and finance, and plays a crucial role in facilitating people’s lives, optimizing the business environment, and building a thriving consumer market. The PBOC has guided all parties in the payment industry to establish a multi-layered and broadly-covering acceptance network, which enables China to become a global leader in payment services. Shanghai is the largest clearing center in the world for card-based transactions, where China UnionPay has attracted numerous businesses upstream and downstream of the industry chain to form a cluster. As the city receives a large number of international visitors each year and is also one of the first in China to enter an era of aging society, choosing Shanghai as the first stop for Project Excellence 2024 holds special significance. She believes that Project Excellence can enable senior citizens and international travelers among others to feel accepted and welcomed, and make payment services in Shanghai more accommodating. The Shanghai municipal government will fully support the Project, and it stands ready to work with all parties including the PBOC to implement the requirements listed in the State Council guidelines, aiming to develop the Shanghai Solution that bridges the digital divide and improves the multi-layered as well as diversified payment service system. Together, all parties can contribute to business environment optimization and the high-quality social and economic development.

Mr. Dong Junfeng from China UnionPay pointed out that payment service optimization is a national policy and a shared responsibility of all industry participants. China UnionPay has been implementing the strategic decisions by the central government and the work arrangements of the PBOC by fulfilling its pivotal role as a card scheme. He hopes that through Project Excellence 2024, China UnionPay can inspire other industry stakeholders to contribute their resources, promote the parallel and complementary development of card, mobile and cash payments, and respect and support customer’s rights to choose payment tools. Project Excellence 2024 is a major initiative that connects different links of the payment industry as well as a systematic one that calls for consensus and coordination across the payment industry in geographies both in and outside China. Under the leadership of the PBOC and local governments, China UnionPay will team up with banks, China UMS, and acquirers in and outside China’s mainland, and strive for extensive availability of full solutions in all use cases across China. Furthermore, UnionPay will enhance collaboration with banks and payment institutions, expedite payment code interoperability, strengthen partnership with Chinese clearing institutions, and further engage in consultations with other international card schemes to jointly establish a convenient, open and inclusive payment ecosystem. Ultimately, UnionPay products will be easy to use in every use case, offering a superior experience, more options, and higher value for the elderly and international visitors to China.

During the ceremony, China UnionPay released 29 business achievements, covering international card issuance, overseas e-wallets, and acceptance in China. Among these were agreements signed with partners from the Philippines, Australia, and Pakistan to issue three million UnionPay cards. Ten major wallets, including AEON in Hong Kong SAR, OCBC in Singapore, and the LPB e-wallet in Vietnam, now support UnionPay QR payments, which are estimated to cover 60 million potential customers. More than ten well-known online and physical merchants, including Meituan, Trip.com, Pinduoduo, JD.com, and Shouqianba, accept international UnionPay payment products. Hong Kong and Macao vehicles traveling to the mainland can enjoy seamless payments at multiple parking lots and tollgates in Guangdong Province.

At the event, UnionPay also signed collaboration agreements with Ctrip Financial Services and China Tourism Group to provide more user-friendly cross-border payment services for international visitors to China. These two collaborations demonstrate the in-depth partnership between payment and tourism sectors that collectively improves the service for inbound travelers to China. They are also the outcome of collaborative efforts by the relevant industries. Themed marketing campaigns targeting these travelers have also been launched alongside Project Excellence 2024, available at visa centers, airlines, online travel agencies, and over 100,000 merchants in several locations including Shanghai, Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Shenzhen. Nearly 20 issuers from countries such as South Korea, Thailand, and Kazakhstan will offer up to 12% cashback to their cardholders who use UnionPay cards in China. Additionally, UnionPay’s Travel Mate Asia, a card featuring popular destinations in China’s mainland, will be upgraded. The new series of card issuance programs will cover more destinations with more exciting benefits.

As a key financial infrastructure in China and one of the major card schemes in the world, China UnionPay has always adhered to the original aspiration of “Payment for the People” and has been strengthening collaboration with other industry stakeholders. With its comprehensive solutions that cover all sorts of payments regardless of the location, vehicle and mode, China UnionPay continues to make payments easier for groups such as senior citizens and international visitors to China. While improving services such as card acceptance and ATM cash withdrawal, China UnionPay has rolled out the senior-friendly version of the UnionPay App, allowing the elderly to enjoy the benefits brought by the era of digital payment. In addition, UnionPay has issued over 230 million cards outside China’s mainland, launched nearly 200 UnionPay-powered e-wallets, and extended the acceptance network to 183 countries and regions, transforming UnionPay into a global payment solution that services cardholders across the world in their everyday lives and work.

Going forward, China UnionPay will work with all industry participants to ramp up the implementation of Project Excellence, with pledges to achieve substantial progress in more key cities and key use cases.

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