China UnionPay, the company responsible for the unification of China's payments systems, is to become a principal member of Visa, paving the way for Chinese bank customers to settle payments globally through the card organisation's international network.
In addition, Visa cardholders around the world will now have the ability to settle payments throughout China via a comprehensive Chinese national network.
China UnionPay Company Limited was established in March 2002 and links up all major banks and payments systems in China's principal cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The company’s goal is to connect all payment systems throughout China by 2005.
By joining Visa, China UnionPay members who wish to offer their customers international bankcard services can connect to the card company’s global processing network, VisaNet, through China UnionPay's system to complete transactions. In return, Visa cardholders in China will be able to use their cards at 24 million merchants and 750,000 Visa ATMs worldwide.