AmEx Becomes First Foreign Firm to Clear Payments in China

The company will start clearing the Renminbi transactions later this year.

American Express, a United States payments giant, has received a networking clearing license from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) through its local joint subsidiary Express Technology.

Announced on Saturday, the US payments company has become the first foreign company to receive such a license in mainland China to clear RMB transactions.

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“We are pleased to be the first foreign company to receive this license. This approval represents an important step forward in our long-term growth strategy and is a historic moment, not only for American Express but for the continued growth and development of the payments industry in mainland China,” Stephen J. Squeri, chairman and chief executive of American Express, said.

Opening up of the Chinese payments market

Express Technology is a joint venture between American Express and local fintech services company Lianlian DigiTech. The company has already built a network to clear domestic transactions charged on American Express-branded cards and is also compatible with the key mobile wallet players in China.

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In the press release, American Express highlighted that the company is working to start processing Renminbi transactions later this year.

China is slowly opening up its financial market for foreign companies as last October the central bank approved PayPal’s acquisition of local payments firm GoPay.

“Against the backdrop of globalization and China’s opening-up of its financial industry, we have been actively introducing China’s mobile payments to the world, while striving to learn from and connect with world-class financial companies,” Zhengyu Zhang, chairman of LianLian DigiTech, added.

“We are proud to be the first licensed foreign payments network in mainland China,” Walter Liu, CEO of Express Company, said. “We will offer our partners differentiated services by bringing together the best from American Express and Lianlian. Our focus now is to continue the preparation work for a successful business launch by working closely with the regulators and partners.”

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