American Express Co. credit cards are arranged for a photograph in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg)

AmEx Is First Foreign Payment Company Granted Access to China

(Bloomberg) -- American Express Co. said the People’s Bank of China approved its license to become the first foreign payments company allowed to build a network in the nation.

  • AmEx formed a joint venture with LianLian, a Chinese fintech-services firm, that will let charges on American Express-branded cards be cleared and settled in China, the New York-based company said Friday in a statement.

Key Insights

  • The approval shows progress in payment networks’ battle for access to mainland China, which were one point of contention raised in the Trump administration’s trade talks.
  • The company will have to battle rivals WeChat Pay and Alipay, which dominate the mobile-payment market in China.
  • AmEx may have an opportunity to gain market share in the commercial and small-business segments, according to a note from Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc.

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  • For the full statement, click here.

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