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China hasn't exactly opened its arms wide to embrace U.S. payments companies, but the nation has gradually become more accepting of the foreign payments businesses that view its tech-savvy population as a lucrative market.

American Express confirmed last week that the People’s Bank of China formally accepted its application — a joint venture with Chinese mobile payment provider Lianlian Group. Amex had worked with Lianlian six years ago in allowing the Chinese mobile provider to incorporate the Serve platform into its network.

It's a wise move for Amex to continue that partnership, because American card brands or mobile wallet providers will find the country fairly tough sledding because its brands of UnionPay, WeChat Pay and Alipay dominate the mobile and e-commerce landscape.