UnionPay-Barclaycard deal connects Chinese tourists with U.K. merchants

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Chinese mobile payment apps Alipay and WeChat Pay have made deep inroads into Western markets, and now UnionPay, China’s state-run card network, is catching up.

UnionPay International, a subsidiary of China UnionPay, has formed a partnership with Barclaycard in the U.K. to enable 110,000 merchants to accept UnionPay cards beginning this summer, Barclaycard said in a Tuesday press release.

The deal is a coup for Barclaycard, whose network processes transactions for major retailers, transportation companies, hotels and restaurants in the U.K. at a time when bookings for Chinese tourists visiting Britain through the first half of this year are up 30 percent over last year, Barclaycard said in the release.

“China is one of the U.K.’s most valuable inbound visitor markets, and this deal means our U.K. merchants will be able to better serve Chinese and global consumers who choose UnionPay as their preferred payment method when shopping online or in-store,” said Rob Cameron, Barclaycard’s CEO of payment acceptance, in the release.

“Today’s announcement represents yet another step forward in our rapidly expanding global footprint,” said Wei Zhihong, UnionPay International’s market director and head of its European branch, in the release, noting that the move will also be a plus for European UnionPay customers.

Separately, Barclaycard parent Barclays Plc this week disclosed it’s preparing to migrate users of bPay—the mobile and wearable payments service the bank launched in 2014—to Pingit, its popular P2P app.

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Credit cards Payment processing China UnionPay Barclays U.K. China