China UnionPay and Visa signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday to jumpstart collaboration between the two companies.

Per the MOU signed in Shanghai, the companies will cooperate on issues including payments security, innovation and financial inclusion. The memorandum was signed by China UnionPay president Shi Wenchao and Visa chief executive Charlie Scharf.

"As open payment networks, both companies follow the same business model, share the common interest of maintaining their brand rights and promote the core concept of open cooperation," Wenchao said in a news release. "The joint cooperation will have an important influence on the healthy development of the global payments industry, providing cardholders with more convenient, secure and highly efficient payment services." 

The memorandum with Visa builds on UnionPay's previous efforts to expand its presence in the U.S. and its collaboration with American companies. In 2010, UnionPay formed a similar memorandum with MasterCard for cooperation on online payments and other areas. UnionPay teamed with Discover Financial Services in April 2013 to launch its first American prepaid card, which was targeted to Asian-American communities.

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