American Express to launch debit card products to support Renminbi transactions
Published: Sep 16, 2021 08:04 PM

PBC Photo:Xinhua

PBC Photo:Xinhua

American Express announced Thursday that its joint venture in China - Express (Hangzhou) Technology Service Co together with the China Industrial Bank will introduce two American Express-branded debit cards, the first debit products to support Renminbi transactions on the American Express network.

Express Company CEO Walter Liu said that adding debit capabilities to the firm's network is another example of their unwavering commitment to China.

Working with local partners and regulators, Express has already delivered a series of industry-firsts in less than a year since our business launch; commercializing dual-app chip technology, debuting the American Express Red Card tailormade for the China market, and launching the first pet-related and the first parent-child rewards platforms, he added. 

Chinese officials vow to continue with financial opening-up, which to date already include more than 100 foreign-invested banks and insurance, securities, payment and clearing institutions being approved by regulators to operate in China.

Proactive efforts will be made toward a higher level of financial openness based on a negative list approach, by aligning with international standards, according to Xinhua News Agency in July. 

The market access threshold for foreign-backed financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies will be refined, and rules concerning cross-border transactions between parent and subsidiary firms of financial institutions will be improved. Channels and methods for foreign capital to participate in the domestic financial market will be optimized, Xinhua said. 

The epidemic has not disrupted the pace of opening up for China's financial markets. Since 2020, Fitch became the second international rating company to enter the Chinese market after S&P. Foreign financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse have realized controlling stakes in their joint securities companies in China.

American Express is the first, and currently the only foreign payment network licensed to process renminbi transactions in China.

Since its commercial launch on August 6, 2020, the company has partnered with 18 major Chinese bank partners, issuing more than 50 American Express-branded renminbi credit card products, and achieving mobile wallet parity coverage through partnerships with the four top mobile wallet providers, and partnered with 21 Chinese banks and local non-bank payments institutions.

According to a report by the People's Bank of China, the central bank, at the end of the first quarter of 2021, the number of bankcards in use rose to 9.03 billion, of which more than 91 percent are debit cards.  

Global Times