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Localization of UnionPay card business along “the Belt and Road” gains breakthrough again
UnionPay International cooperates with National Bank of Ukraine to issue the first local UnionPay card

Chairman of China UnionPay Shao Fujun (3rd right), and President of China UnionPay Shi Wenchao (2nd left) attended the signing ceremony. Governor of National Bank of Ukraine, Yakiv Smolii (3rd left), and CEO of UnionPay International Cai Jianbo (1st right) signed the card issuing agreement.

UnionPay International announced today that it had reached cooperation with the National Bank of Ukraine. The National Bank of Ukraine grants UnionPay International permission to conduct business in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the National Bank of Ukraine signed an agreement with UnionPay International to promote the issuance of UnionPay-PROSTIR chip cards by members of the local payment network PROSTIR. This is also the first time that UnionPay cards to be issued in Ukraine. Chairman of China UnionPay Shao Fujun, and President of China UnionPay Shi Wenchao attended the signing ceremony. Governor of National Bank of Ukraine, Yakiv Smolii, and CEO of UnionPay International Cai Jianbo signed the card issuing agreement.

Under the guidance of the People's Bank of China, UnionPay has accelerated rolling out its business along “the Belt and Road”. By launching the UnionPay card products that meet the payment needs of local residents, the target customers will be extended from the Chinese visiting the region to local residents, thus supporting China's exchanges with these countries and regions. PROSTIR has more than 50 member institutions. Upon this agreement, PROSTIR will promote its member banks to issue new cards. New cards will be compatible with both UnionPay and PROSTIR chip standards, and cardholders will be able to pay for goods and services, as well as withdraw funds in ATMs in and outside Ukraine, greatly enhancing the payment experience of Ukrainian residents’ daily consumption and international travel.

Shao Fujun expressed his thanks to the National Bank of Ukraine for granting UnionPay permission to conduct business in Ukraine. He said that with the accelerated implementation of “the Belt and Road Initiative”, the demand for cross-border payment between China and Ukraine is growing. This local card issuance is realized through an innovative cooperation model, which will offer support to the bilateral exchanges between China and Ukraine. He added that UnionPay is continuously upgrading its global service capabilities. In the future, it will integrate the market edges of PROSTIR, extend its technological potential in Ukraine, and explore innovative business cooperation such as UnionPay mobile payment to provide local residents with safe, efficient and diversified payment services.

Yakiv Smolii said “We take pride in achievements of our national payment system, which can compete with international payment systems and is a sought partner for joint projects of the global scale.” He added that this project will foster further development and popularization of PROSTIR and expand technological features of the Ukrainian system’s cards and offer new beneficial products. “We consider the agreement for issuing co-baged cards with UnionPay International beneficial for both parties. The Chinese payment system will promptly initiate issue of payment cards in Ukraine available for use throughout the entire payment infrastructure in our country and provide the national payment system with the functionality for cross-border transactions,” said Yakiv Smolii.

Ukraine is one of the first countries to participate in “the Belt and Road Initiative”. Since the beginning of this year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Ukraine has increased by more than 20% year-on-year. During more than two years that the local policy of visa on arrival for Chinese citizens has been applied, the number of Chinese tourists to Ukraine has increased by more than 50 %. In line with this trend, in July this year, UnionPay International cooperated with Privat Bank, the largest commercial bank in the region, and it is expected that more than 60% of POS terminals in Ukraine will accept UnionPay cards next year.

At present, more than 3.3 million merchants in 40 countries and regions in Europe accept UnionPay cards, accounting for more than 60% of all bank card merchants in Europe. Among the 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe along “the Belt and Road”, UnionPay cards are accepted in 13. In Hungary, 60% of POS terminals and half of ATMs support UnionPay cards, and 60% of Czech ATMs and tens of thousands of merchants can use UnionPay cards. In the second half of this year, Serbia and Montenegro first realized the acceptance of UnionPay cards.

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