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UnionPay will expand its frontiers into Myanmar’s market, competing with Visa and Mastercard in becoming the first card owned by many people from emerging markets. Indonesia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are other territories where the Chinese brand is dipping in, and might soon prove a worldwide expansion.

UnionPay has become the largest bank cards group in the world by value of card transaction in the short span of 15 years. Out of the $21 trillion global payments market, UnionPay holds a solid 37%, according to payments consultant RBR.

Up to this point, UnionPay has worked almost exclusively in China, claiming just 0.5% of the global market, compared with Visa’s 50% and MasterCard’s 31%.

Experts watching the group say it has a clear government mandate to take on Visa and MasterCard outside China, who have seen their efforts to thrive thwarted in the country by the government itself. This brought along a dispute between the World Trade Organisation and China’s government for unfair discrimination in 2012.

UnionPay has also seen its cards accepted in luxury shops across Europe, like Louis Vuitton and Burberry, which are attempting to attract wealthy Chinese tourists. These customers can use their cads in over 41 million shops across 160 countries.

According to Financial Times, new technologies and the availability of better data will prove to be big challenges in UnionPay’s success over MasterCard and Visa.

China has recent history of providing its local companies with support. This, coupled with China’s big expenses on fintech, may smooth the way for UnionPay.

by Henry Vilar
Henry is Junior Reporter at IBS Intelligence, follow him on Twitter or contact him at: henryv@ibsintelligence.com
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