WorldPay partners with China UnionPay to tap Chinese e-commerce business


WorldPay, a global leader in payment processing, and China UnionPay, claimed to be the fastest growing card scheme in the world, have announced a partnership which will see WorldPay become the biggest acquirer outside of China for e-commerce UnionPay transactions.

Under the agreement WorldPay will become the first UnionPay online payment acquirer in the US and the vast majority of Europe, to enable merchants to sell directly to consumers in China, as well as UnionPay cardholders outside of China.

According to WorldPay, the announcement allows merchants to tap into enormous Chinese spending power, which has grown exponentially in the last few years.

The middle class population has risen from 35m households in 2006 and is expected to top 100m by 2016, while the number of dollar millionaires rose 10% in a year to 960,000. As well as this huge increase in spending power, the Chinese have become more transient, said WorldPay. In 2001 only 12m Chinese travellers took a foreign trip but the Chinese Government estimates this number reached 64m in 2011 and will grow 11% year-on-year.

China UnionPay has grown at an extraordinary rate and now rivals some of the world’s largest card schemes. According to an investigation by AC Nelson, an international authoritative investigation institution, up to 100% of Chinese domestics are familiar with the China UnionPay brand, significantly higher than any other bankcard brand in China.

The potential e-commerce market for merchants selling to China is huge, said WorldPay. The Chinese have a high demand for international products, so WorldPay’s move to become the first e-commerce acquirer in the US and the vast majority of Europe to enable merchants to sell directly to China marks a significant game changer for international e-commerce. 

Ron Kalifa, CEO of WorldPay, said: “China is rapidly overtaking many nations to become one of the biggest spending powers in the world. The announcement today between WorldPay and China UnionPay is incredibly significant for merchants that want to sell to China online. E-commerce has removed geographical boundaries, opening up the opportunities for merchants to sell to consumers regardless of country or origin. WorldPay is now able to make this a reality for merchants that want to sell to China, opening up a lucrative market.”

UnionPay president, Xu Luode, said UnionPay is stepping up efforts to better meet the demand of cross-border transactions through co-operation with partners to further improve the acceptance network and services overseas.

At present, UnionPay cards are accepted in 125 countries and areas around the world. Cardholders can also make cross-border purchases via the Internet with about 8m online merchants in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and a large number of countries in Europe.

The co-operation with WorldPay is a significant step forward to expand UnionPay acceptance overseas, he said. In a period of time when major UK based sporting events are just around the corner, UnionPay is able to continue optimising the acceptance environment in the UK and better serve the visiting UnionPay cardholders, said the company.

Selfridges was the first retailer in UK to introduce China UnionPay terminals, provided by Streamline, and following a successful implementation, has continued to roll-out more terminals across its stores.

Meave Wall, store director, Selfridges comments: “The number of Chinese visitors to the UK has grown exponentially in the last couple of years. China UnionPay is one of the most widely recognised card schemes in the world, and since the introduction of China UnionPay terminals in our stores we have seen a significant increase in the footfall of Chinese visitors and the amount of money they spend, particularly on our luxury brand ranges.”