China's financial market opening-up continues apace

21Nov 2023
The Guardian
China's financial market opening-up continues apace

China has allowed Mastercard's Chinese joint venture to conduct bank card clearing operations in the country, marking another step forward in the opening-up of the country's financial market.

The approval made Mastercard the second overseas bank card clearing institution to enter the Chinese market, following American Express in 2020.

"China is one of our most important markets. We are pleased to have reached this milestone with our local partner, NetsUnion Clearing Corporation (NUCC)," said Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard, adding that Mastercard's deeper participation in the Chinese market will benefit the country, its consumers and its businesses.

Mastercard NUCC Information Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd, the joint venture of Mastercard and NUCC, can authorize its member institutions to issue Mastercard yuan bank cards in China, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced.

Within six months of receiving its certification, the Mastercard joint venture will be able to authorize its member institutions in China to conduct the issuance and acceptance of Mastercard cards.

Calling it a landmark event in China's latest financial market opening-up campaign, Dong Ximiao, chief researcher at Merchants Union Consumer Finance Company Limited, said that the broader opening-up of the country's bank card clearing market will help domestic players improve services and elevate their risk prevention and control capabilities.

The move demonstrates China's confidence and resolution to expand its opening-up, said Zeng Gang, director of the Shanghai Institution for Finance and Development.

Allowing more overseas bank card clearing institutions to enter the Chinese market will help build a stable bank card clearing market structure with effective competition, and deepen the supply-side structural reform of the payment industry, Zeng said.

China has been stepping up efforts to promote a high level of financial opening-up, implementing concrete measures such as allowing global investors to invest in China's capital market through more channels, and scrapping securities, futures and fund ownership caps for foreign institutions.

Following these measures, many global financial institutions have expanded their footprints in China, showing faith in the country's continued financial opening-up.

On Monday, a meeting of the country's Central Financial Commission highlighted work to steadily promote the opening-up of the financial sector, as well as its development and growth.

The PBOC said China will continue to improve its business environment and better facilitate foreign financial institutions that expand their businesses in the country.

"The PBOC welcomes U.S. financial institutions to boost their presence in China, share China's economic development outcomes, and contribute to deepening financial cooperation between China and the United States," it said.

The central bank noted that it will promote work on bank card clearing market access in an orderly manner, while improving the regulatory system to balance development and security.  ■

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