Global payment network, UnionPay International (UPI), has pledged its support for stronger financial cooperation between Shanghai and Singapore at the 12th Lujiazui Forum 2020, a major financial summit held in Shanghai, China on 18 and 19 June. At the event, Cai Jianbo, Chairman of UnionPay International, outlined three key areas for the company to play a bigger role in facilitating intercity cooperation. This includes the acceleration of digital payment adoption in Singapore to realise the country’s Smart Nation vision, improvements to cross-border payment infrastructure to facilitate payment between Shanghai and Singapore, and expediting trade flows and exchanges between residents and corporates in both cities. His remarks echoed the sentiments of many industry experts in China and Singapore, and have been covered widely by mainstream media in China.
Following the establishment of the Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperation Council (SSCCC) and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deepen third-party market cooperation between Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the People’s Republic of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in April 2019, representatives from both cities have been working together to explore new collaborations as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. As one of the fastest-growing international payment networks with a growing presence in Singapore since 2004, UnionPay is well-placed to play a key role to strengthen intercity cooperation in the financial services arena and Cai said the company is committed to doing more. The company’s efforts will also play a part in enhancing ties between both cities.
Accelerating Digital Payment Adoption to Realise Singapore’s Smart Nation Vision
To realise Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, UPI has been working on a series of initiatives to accelerate digital payment adoption in the country. This includes participation in the SGQR roll-out to promote the use of digital payments in the heartlands and at hawker centres islandwide, partnerships with local payment providers such as NETS to enhance digital payment infrastructure, and the introduction of e-wallets through NETSPay and HuaweiPay to provide local consumers with a greater variety of mobile payment options.
Two months ago, UnionPay, Huawei and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) launched Huawei Pay in Singapore. Today, Huawei and Honor device users in Singapore can register their ICBC UnionPay credit cards with Huawei Pay and use it to make payment at over 20 million UnionPay mobile contactless acceptance points in 49 countries and regions.
To support the growing demand for e-commerce today, UnionPay has expanded its online acceptance network to merchants such as iShopChangi, Zalora, foodpanda, Qoo10, iHerb, Steam, and introduced a new way to pay with UnionPay Online Merchant QR Code Payment on welovesupermom.com. With this new payment method, consumers who do not hold a UnionPay card can also use their NETSPay app to pay for their online purchases at welovesupermom.com with a quick scan of the UnionPay QR Code.
Improving Cross-Border Payment Infrastructure to Facilitate Payments
To facilitate cross-border payments between Shanghai and Singapore, UPI has been expanding its acceptance network in Singapore to better serve the payment needs of tourists from China and other parts of Southeast Asia. With 90 percent of merchants in Singapore now accepting payment via UnionPay, more merchants will be able to benefit from the overseas tourist market upon resumption of international travel in future.
For Singaporeans who travel overseas, UPI has been working with local payment partners such as NETS to enable cross-border mobile payment at UnionPay QR merchants in 33 countries and regions through NETSPay. At the same time, UPI is partnering with other Southeast Asian payment providers to enable greater interconnection of payment facilities between countries in the region to support the collective move towards a cashless society.
Expediting Trade Flows and Exchanges Between Residents and Corporates
To expedite exchanges between residents and corporates in both cities, UnionPay partnered Singapore fintech firm Aleta Planet and leading remittance company Zhongguo Remittance, to launch Aleta China Express (ACE). As an online remittance service that offers consumers and corporates a faster and safer way to remit money to China, ACE is powered by Aleta Planet’s proprietary technology built on UnionPay’s global platform.