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Visa Inc. plans to buy a stake in payment card network China UnionPay, according to a 17 June report in China Knowledge, a news service. Visa declined to comment. "It is not Visa's practice [to] comment on speculative articles relating to matters of commercial sensitivity," a Visa spokesperson tells CardLine Global. A UnionPay spokesperson also declined comment. An analyst said a deal between the two card companies could help Visa in China. "Though Visa has an absolute advantage over China UnionPay, the latter has a very large presence in China in terms of card numbers, ATMs, POS terminals and card functions," Hua Zhang, an analyst in the China office of United States-based research firm Celent LLC, tells CardLine Global. China UnionPay is the only local settlement and clearing organization in China, he says. "So, to [better compete in] the market, the best way is to buy the shares of China UnionPay," he adds.

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