Charging Into China: Beijing Gives Green Light to Visa, MasterCard

© AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, FileMasterCard and Visa credit cards
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China's decision to open its door to allowing domestic payments to be cleared through Visa and MasterCard is a sign that Beijing wants to expand its global clout, Russian expert Mikhail Belyayev told Sputnik.

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In an interview with Sputnik, Russian economics expert Mikhail Belyayev said that by giving the green light to domestic payments being cleared through Visa and MasterCard, Beijing is attempting to strengthen its position on the international stage.

The interview came a day after Chinese media quoted the country's authorities as saying that they will allow the foreign payment companies to operate in China, paving the way towards fair competition in the country.

"China is clearly indicating its ambitions to spread its influence in the world. Its greenlighting of the clearance of domestic payments via MasterCard and Visa is a sign that China sees itself as a full-fledged participant in international economic relations," Belyayev said.

He added that Beijing has also made it plain that it is already fully integrated into the global economy, and that it is ready to take part participating in every aspect of international trade and is inviting all other players to follow suit.

Chen Fengying of the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations said in a separate interview with Sputnik that Beijing's initiative reflects the global trend towards the development of cooperation in the plastic card market.

Fengying recalled that Visa and MasterCard are American payment systems and that in China payments are typically performed through UnionPay.

"I believe that China okaying international payment systems is actually a question of fair competition, given that our payment system is far from perfect. It is safe to say that Beijing's initiative is aimed at increasing the [economy's] potential [in terms] of welfare," Fengying said.  

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According to fengying, it also reflects the desire of foreign companies to enter the Chinese market," Fengying said.

Back in October 2015, the Chinese government announced plans to allow internal payments to be cleared through Visa and MasterCard.

Earlier, all such payments had to be cleared with the help of China UnionPay, a network created by the country's Central Bank and currently owned by about 85 mostly state-run banks.

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