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Standard Bank, UnionPay card deal set to ease Africans’ trade with China

Credit and debt cards supported by China UnionPay. AFP PHOTO | NMG
Credit and debt cards supported by China UnionPay. AFP PHOTO | NMG 

Africans trading with China will no longer have to carry hard currency for conversion into the Chinese unit, the renminbi, after Beijing-based UnionPay International signed a pact for Standard Bank to access UnionPay’s cards in multiple markets.

Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank that operates in Kenya as CFC Stanbic Bank #ticker:CFC, is represented in many continental countries.

“African entrepreneurs and importers of Chinese goods and services have, traditionally, had to travel to China carrying foreign currency in cash for conversion into renminbi,” said George Lo, head of pan-Africa China Banking at Standard Bank.

But going forward, he said, Standard Bank cards or online transaction solutions will provide access to all UnionPay-enabled platforms in China, enabling African traders to buy goods directly from suppliers throughout China using the card.

UnionPay is one of the global card payments systems and hosts majority of transactions in China.

The deal means that Standard Bank’s UnionPay capability will allow African traders with Standard Bank accounts, cards or online payment products to access the full range of payment apps currently used to transact in China.

Standard Bank card holders will be able to access China’s e-commerce marketplace too.

This will allow African traders to locate and select goods remotely and then pay electronically via their Standard Bank cards.