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    UnionPay International and Swedbank jointly expand UnionPay’s acceptance in the Baltic States

    Shi Wenchao (right), President of China UnionPay and Ieva Vīgante (left), Board Member of Swedbank attended the business launching ceremony held in Riga, capital of Latvia

    UnionPay International announced today that through its partnership with Swedbank, one of the largest banking groups in Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea, tens of thousands of merchants in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are enabled to accept UnionPay cards, substantially increasing UnionPay merchant acceptance rate in the Baltic region. Shi Wenchao, President of China UnionPay and Ieva Vīgante, Head of Corporate Customer Division and Board member at Swedbank Latvia, attended the business launching ceremony held in Riga, capital of Latvia.

    The three countries of the Baltic Sea are emerging travel destinations in Europe. According to the data of Ctrip.com, one of the largest OTAs in China, Latvia and Estonia are among the top ten European destinations with the fastest growth of Chinese tourists in the first half of 2019. In addition, connecting Russia, Northern Europe and Central and Eastern Europe, the three countries of the Baltic Sea are having increasingly closer economic and trade cooperation with Asia Pacific, especially Hong Kong, South Korea and Russia, where UnionPay cards have been issued in a large scale.

    With the partnership between UnionPay and Swedbank, a large number of merchants, of types of catering, accommodation, retail and wholesale, are enabled to accept UnionPay cards, meeting the payment demands of visiting tourists and business travelers. Since this year, customers countries and regions have used UnionPay cards in the Baltic States, among which cardholders from Hong Kong, Belarus and Uzbekistan frequently use UnionPay cards to make purchase at wholesale merchants. Next, the two parties will jointly enable UnionPay acceptance at local ATMs and online merchants, and realize the acceptance breakthrough of UnionPay QuickPass in the region.

    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. 

    Ieva Vīgante said, “We are happy and pleased about our cooperation with UnionPay. Swedbank is the first commercial bank in Latvia to accept UnionPay cards. According to our data, Chinese tourists are keen to use this payment option for their purchases when visiting Latvia. We are looking forward to continuing our growth” .

    So far, UnionPay is accepted in 90% of European countries and regions with an overall acceptance rate of over 65%. UnionPay has reached about 100% acceptance in Switzerland, Spain and Portugal, and its acceptance rate in Italy and Greece is over 80%. In the UK, over 300,000 merchants accept UnionPay cards while 70,000 more merchants in France have newly started accepting UnionPay recently.

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