Apart from political hostility to other nations- in SA- its business as usual.
This follows an agreement signed between Absa and UnionPay International, one of China’s largest bankcard associations with 5.4 billion cards worldwide. The deal means UPI cardholders living in or visiting South Africa to transact at any of Absa’s point-of-sale (POS) terminals and withdraw cash at Absa’s 9153 ATMs nationwide. There will be Chinese interface on all ATM screens.
The agreement also covers 10 African countries in which Barclays Africa has a presence and significantly expands the company’s presence across English speaking Africa.
Absa will roll out its full base for UPI acceptance to local merchants in the next few months.
During phase two of the partnership, UPI acceptance will be rolled out in other African countries where Barclays Africa is represented – enabling tens of thousands of ATMs and POS terminals across the continent.
“This is a key milestone for Absa as it represents our first association with a Chinese partner in the retail and business banking sectors. The partnership is a win-win for both parties, as it allows Absa to serve this market and increase transactions carried by UPI cardholders,” says Craig Bond, Chief Executive- Absa Retail and Business Banking.
“The Chinese are now the world’s largest consumers of luxury goods and we hope that this joint initiative and service will also meet the needs of a large number of our corporate retail merchants including those involved in the travel and entertainment industries, who may require the acceptance of UPI cards on their POS devices.”
UnionPay International, made inroads to the African market six years, originally set up to service the growing number of tourist and business visitors from China who are UPI cardholders, but is now partnering with local banks to be able to issue cards to African customers.
Larry Wang,Chief Business Development Officer of UPI says the deal with Barclays Africa is a sign of the importance of China-Africa trade and investment flows.
“Barclays Africa is the leading financial services provider of choice in Africa. Given the growing financial ties between China and Africa, this partnership will facilitate payments by our UnionPay cardholder base either resident in or visiting South Africa or the other countries where both parties have a presence, in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”
On tourism, Chinese who visited South Africa in October last year increased by 85,6% to 7 902 compared with the same month in 2014.
Around 47 000 Chinese tourists visited South Africa last year, making South Africa one of China’s fastest growing tourist destinations, according to Stats SA.