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China Approves American Express JV To Start Operations In The Chinese Market

China Approves American Express JV To Start Operations In The Chinese Market
A network clearing license for a joint venture of the United States based credit card offering company American Express has been given the nod by the central bank of China. This will make the American firm the first foreign credit card company that will be launching business in he Chinese market.
This development comes in the backdrop of heightened tensions between the United States and China as the countries tussled over trade, the imposition of a national security law for Hong Kong by China and he alleged lax handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic by China.  
It had approved the license for Express (Hangzhou) Technology Services Co., a joint venture between American Express and LianLian DigiTech Co Ltd., said the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement on Saturday. The PBOC said that this decision reflects the policy of China to further open up the financial industry of its economy.
American Express's application to start operations in China had been received by the PBOC in January, the central bank had said back then.
American Express expects to be able to begin processing transactions later this year, said the company in a statement.
"This approval represents an important step forward in our long-term growth strategy and is an 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 officer of American Express, said.
While a similar joint venture in China proposed by Mastercard for to conduct bank card clearing operations in the country has already been approved by the PBOC, this foreign company is yet to get the nod for a network clearing license.
On the other hand, an application for starting business operations in China was submitted by card giant Visa in early 2018 but that application has not yet been cleared by Chinese authorities.
It has been more than decade foreign players had been lobbying with China to open up its local currency payments market to foreign companies and allowing foreign companies to have direct access to what is expected to soon become the biggest bank card market of the world.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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