UnionPay International (UPI) announced today its partnership with BCEL, the largest commercial bank in Laos, to launch UnionPay QR code service for the first time in the country. This partnership will enable tourists to make payment via the UnionPay app by scanning QR code at tens of thousands of local merchants in Laos. UnionPay thus becomes the first bankcard scheme that launches QR code service in the Laos market.
So far, UnionPay card has become the national payment method in Laos, with 100% acceptance coverage and an issuance of over one million cards. Eight out of ten local bankcards are of the UnionPay brand. Since 2019, the transaction volume of UnionPay cards issued in Laos grew by 150% year-on-year, and transactions made in China witnessed the fastest growth. Moreover, UnionPay has leveraged its advantages in payment standards and technologies in assisting Laos to build the local payment network, realizing the unification of bankcards. UPI will also establish a joint venture with eight local institutions to jointly operate this system.
Mr. Cai Jianbo, CEO of UPI, 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 localization 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 digitalization of Laos payment industry.
Given that China is the third largest tourist source country of Laos, UPI and BCEL will first enable major merchants in fields of retail and catering to accept UnionPay QR code payment in response to the changes in Chinese tourists’ payment habits. In the future, UPI will continue to expand the acceptance of its mobile payment solutions, and carry out cooperation in e-wallets with local institutions in order to meet the mobile payment demands of local cardholders.
In recent years, UPI has been accelerating the rollout of its mobile payment business in markets outside Mainland China. So far, users of the UnionPay App can enjoy UnionPay mobile payment services at more than three million merchants in 46 countries and regions. In Southeast Asia, users of UnionPay App can not only make payments by scanning the UnionPay QR code in 8 countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, but also activate UnionPay mobile QuickPass function and then make tap-and-go payments at about 150,000 merchants in the region.