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Mastercard NetsUnion begins processing domestic payments in China

Mastercard JV begins operations in China, breaking into the financial market to simplify payments for consumers and drive innovation in the fintech sector, signaling China’s openness to global financial integration.

  • Editorial Team
  • May 13, 2024
  • 2 minutes

Mastercard NetsUnion Information Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (Mastercard NetsUnion) has announced the commencement of payment processing for transactions made in China using Mastercard cards issued by local banks. This joint venture has also confirmed the acceptance of Mastercard-branded cards for both domestic and international purchases.

This marks a significant moment for Mastercard, which has bolstered its foothold and visibility in the world’s second most populous country and second largest economy. According to data gathering platform Statista, the total value of digital payments transactions in China is projected to reach $3,744.00bn in 2024.

Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This marks another significant achievement for Mastercard. Over nearly four decades of operation in China, we have fostered strong ties with the country’s financial institutions, merchants, and fintech companies, facilitating global economic connectivity for its populace.”

Ling Hai, Chairman of the Board of Mastercard NetsUnion and President of Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa for Mastercard, highlighted the commitment to creating a secure and innovative digital ecosystem. “With our digital infrastructure now operational, Mastercard and Mastercard NetsUnion are dedicated to collaborating with all stakeholders in China to foster secure and reliable digital payment solutions,” he said.

The approval from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in February 2020 initiated the formal preparations for Mastercard NetsUnion to establish a domestic bankcard clearing institution. Since then, the joint venture has diligently complied with local regulatory standards, obtaining necessary certifications for its local switch business. In November 2023, formal approval was granted by both the PBOC and the National Administration of Financial Regulation (NAFR) to commence domestic bankcard clearing operations.

Mastercard has a long history of providing convenient payment solutions for international visitors to China. The “Pay Like a Local” program, introduced last year, has garnered widespread recognition for its contribution in this regard. By integrating internationally-issued Mastercard cards with Chinese digital wallets, the program enabled travellers to access QR code payments at millions of locations across the country. This initiative complements the extensive issuance of nearly 100 million Mastercard cards to Chinese consumers for use abroad.