China UnionPay (CUP), the only national bankcard association in China, has awarded AT&T a contract to provide an Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN) integrating CUP Hong Kong with offices in major cities in Europe, North America and across the Asia Pacific region.
Since its launch in 2002, CUP has issued more than 800 million cards that are already accepted in Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Korea and Thailand. As the only national card brand serving China's population of more than 1.3 billion, and fast growing economy, CUP anticipates exponential growth in demand for its card services both at home and abroad.
In preparation for intense competition from well-known global credit card providers after China opens its bankcard sectors to foreign players in 2007, CUP has embarked on aggressive expansion plans to develop a worldwide acceptance network by the end of 2006.
China UnionPay chose AT&T as its networking services provider during this challenging expansion phase due to AT&T's unrivalled global network and experience in supporting global companies with complex networking requirements. The cooperation between CUP and AT&T will provide CUP cardholders with safe and secure payment services when they are abroad.
"CUP is committed to helping cardholders conduct transactions quickly, efficiently and securely at thousands of locations worldwide. Reach and reliability are two of the most important objectives of our endeavor, so we wanted a partner we could trust completely, and support us wherever our network expands," said Mr. Liu Yongchun, Executive Vice President of China UnionPay. "After carefully evaluating several global service providers, we determined that AT&T was the ideal company to help us develop our acceptance network across Asia Pacific and worldwide."
Steve Lowe, Vice President of AT&T Asia Pacific said that the contract with China UnionPay offers tremendous growth potential as well as significant challenges, given the exacting timetable. "We are delighted that China UnionPay chose AT&T for this exciting phase of its global expansion. This is a perfect example of how AT&T can leverage its investment in global infrastructure, as well as our expertise in supporting global companies to help Asian based businesses to take on the world."
Shanghai Symphony Telecom (UNISITI), the first telecom services joint venture in China with foreign investment also played a crucial part by initiating the cooperation between CUP and AT&T, and by acting as AT&T's strategic sales partner throughout the engagement cycle. As AT&T's local service provider in China, UNISITI is already providing end-to-end seamless connectivity services to around 200 global companies in China. UNISITI will be directly involved in the local service delivery to CUP.