BBVA, as the only Spanish bank, and Garanti Bank in Turkey have been invited to join the founding membership of Unionpay International. The first general meeting of founding members was held on November 30 in Shanghai. Mehmet Sezgin, responsible for the global business line of Payment Systems in BBVA, represented both entities at the opening ceremony and the first meeting of founding members.
China UnionPay is a Chinese company dedicated to cards and payments business, which was established in March 2002 with headquarter located in Shanghai. In 2012, with a market share of almost 30% of total cards issued worldwide (approximately 2, 82 billion cards issued), Unionpay has become the leading brand of payments over Visa and MasterCard. Respect to the transactions volume, it’s situated in the third place worldwide, as the majority of its customers are in China where the transaction amount of the purchases with cards is lower than in other geographies.
Unionpay has been striving to accelerate its internationalization. It has achieved to extend its business to 124 countries, including Spain, Turkey, Mexico, USA and LATAM. To continue and better support its international expansion plan, Unionpay decided to centralize its international operations into a subsidiary company called UnionPay International, which manages payments business outside China, including the issuance and acceptance of UnionPay cards in other countries and also the acceptance of foreign Unionpay cards in China.
In order to promote its international growth, Unionpay International established a membership scheme inviting banks and other institutions with cards business to be its founding members. Garanti Bank and BBVA have been invited to join as founding members thanks to their innovation abilities in payments and the international expansion of BBVA Group. As founding members, BBVA and Garanti through the global unit of Payment Systems of Banca Retail, will actively participate in some part of the business management and the development of necessary rules and standards to expand internationally this payment method.
UnionPay is becoming the most important company in cards business. Its international expansion will be facilitated by the gradual liberalization of the Chinese currency and the growing businesses and services related to China. This participation of BBVA and Garanti as founding members of Unionpay International will open new growth opportunities and synergies in the geographies where the Group operates.