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China Unionpay extends network overseas

China Unionpay, China's largest credit card service company, had extended its overseas network to 24 countries and regions by the end of 2006, according to sources from the company's headquarters in Shanghai.

The sources said Sunday that the company had developed nearly 470,000 overseas shops which accept Unionpay banking cards, with 898,000 POS machines and up to 400,000 ATMs connected to its network.

The company has authorized 25 overseas banks to issue Unionpay banking cards, with the issuing volume reaching 624,7000 by the end of 2006, including 142,700 credit cards and 481,000 debit cards.

China Unionpay has enjoyed sharp increases in overseas card transactions as more and more Chinese people travel to other countries and regions. Statistics show that in 2006 the company realized an overseas transaction volume of 25.5 billion yuan (3.27 billion U.S. dollars), up 100 percent over the previous year.

The China Unionpay was founded in 2002 at the sponsorship of over 80 domestic financial institutions. It was mainly aimed to unify banking card standards and promote cross-bank card transactions.

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