PayPal becomes 1st third-party payment platform with 100% foreign ownership in China
Published: Jan 11, 2021 10:52 PM

PayPal Photo: IC

US digital money transfer platform PayPal has become the first third-party payment platform with 100 percent foreign ownership in China following its purchase of additional shares of the domestic payment firm GoPay.

PayPal Information Technology (Shanghai)'s equity stake in GoPay increased from 70 percent to 100 percent, media reports said Monday, citing data from company information website Tianyancha. Cofortune Information Technology Co gave up its 30 percent stake in GoPay.

PayPal has made moves in recent years to tap into the vast digital payment market in China.

It completed its acquisition of a 70 percent equity stake in GoPay in December 2019, making PayPal the first foreign payment platform to provide online payment services in China. The transaction was approved by the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank in September that year. 

As a NASDAQ-listed company and the world's leading third-party payment platform, PayPal covers more than 200 countries and regions around the world, with more than 361 million active payment accounts and supports more than 100 currency transactions worldwide.

Beijing-headquartered GoPay, founded in 2011, has licenses for mobile, online and cross-border yuan payment services.

In 2018, China's central bank announced that it would open the market to foreign third-party digital payment firms, a move intended to promote competition in the retail payments industry. US payment and credit card firms have been vying for the opportunity to enter the Chinese market.

In June last year, American Express announced that its China-based joint-venture Express Company had received approval from PBC for a network clearing license, becoming the first foreign payment network to be licensed to clear transactions in Chinese currency, the yuan, in the Chinese mainland. 

Separately, Mastercard Inc won approval in February 2020 to set up a bank card clearing business in China. 

China is ahead of other nations in the use of mobile payments with about 47 percent of mobile users using mobile and digital wallets. 

In 2018, the scale of China's third-party mobile payment transactions was 167.83 trillion yuan ($25.9 trillion), soaring by 59.7 percent year-on-year, according to reports. As expected, third-party mobile payments will enjoy higher market share than mobile banking by 2021 and occupy 58.1 percent by 2026, according to an industry report by Reportlinker.