American Express given green light for Chinese payments

American Express has been notified that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has granted it approval to set up a payments network in China.

The move represents the first time a foreign card company has been given access to the Chinese market in this way.

With the path laid for American Express to gain a clearing and settlement license in mainland China, it will start establishing an operation that can process domestic RMB transactions through a joint-venture (JV) model. The JV is with Chinese fintech services company LianLian, and it has been registered as Express (Hangzhou) Technology Services Company – or 'Express Company' for short.

American Express chairman and CEO, Stephen Squeri, remarked: “We are pleased to be the first foreign payments network allowed to build a network in mainland China.

“This is an important next step toward being able to bring the benefits and services of our global network to Chinese customers and expanding the ability of our global card members to use their American Express cards in mainland China.”

Express Company CEO, Walter Liu, added: “We are pleased that the PBOC has given us preparatory approval for a clearing and settlement license in mainland China.

“As a joint-venture, we will bring together the power of American Express’ global brand and network, and the local knowledge, resources and experience of LianLian.”

In other international payments news last week, PayPal announced it has expanded its PayPal Working Capital programme to Germany via its PayPal Businesskredit initiative.

The set-up will offer PayPal merchants in Germany a financing solution that give them a further way to access capital. To date, the programme has provided more than $6 billion in funding to more than 170,000 businesses in the US, UK and Australia, allowing small firms a chance to apply for a loan online, and receive a decision quickly before funds are deposited directly into their PayPal accounts.