Retail in Asia


One in four Hong Kong and Macau residents use UnionPay app

UnionPay International, a global payment services provider, marked its third year of launching the Hong Kong and Macau version of UnionPay App.

The 30 million UnionPay cards that have been issued in Hong Kong and Macau demonstrate the degree to which the cards have become widely accepted and a preferred choice when making payments. The launch of the localised version of UnionPay App in Hong Kong and Macau three years ago has driven the speedy growth of the local mobile payment industry, with approximately one in every four residents use UnionPay mobile payment services, based on population.

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One of the key projects built into the roadmap released earlier this month for the development of the Hengqin and Qianhai Cooperation Zones was to make the integration of people’s livelihood a priority in a move to further accelerate economic growth within the Greater Bay Area. Taking into account the fact that three currencies are in use across the Greater Bay Area and that each one has its own set of characteristics and abides by its own set of rules, UnionPay International continues to facilitate the implementation of payment networks by providing a variety of banking cards and mobile payment solutions.

The payment solutions provider further supports the integration of the region’s payment services by leveraging the existing cross-border infrastructure to deliver convenient payment solutions to individuals who commute or travel between Hong Kong, Macau and/or mainland China to study, live, look for work or run a business.

As the new semester started, many students in Hong Kong’s and Macau’s institutions of higher learning have chosen to settle their tuition fees with the easy-to-use UnionPay App. In August 2021, several leading universities and colleges in the two regions became connected to UnionPay App, including nearly 100 institutions across the Greater Bay Area, eliminating the need to exchange currencies or for students coming to the schools from outside the region to have to deal with wire transfers.

This move is in line with UnionPay International’s strategy of accelerating the build-out of interconnected networks within the Greater Bay Area to serve the payment needs of local residents. Currently, nearly all merchants in Hong Kong and Macau have been set up to process UnionPay cards and UnionPay mobile QuickPass, with a large number of e-commerce platforms connected to the UnionPay online payment network and 80,000 merchants accepting UnionPay QR code payments.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, Shenzhen-Hong Kong cross-border buses and ferries and most other border crossings, as well Hong Kong Long Win Bus, New City Bus, Macau LRT and other local transport accept UnionPay cards or UnionPay App. Residents in Hong Kong and Macau can also use UnionPay mobile QuickPass to top up their rechargeable stored value smartcards such as Yang Cheng Tong, Shenzhen Tong, and Hong Kong Octopus, maximising convenience when taking the metro or bus.

Many new and upgraded UnionPay payment products have been launched in Hong Kong and Macau. Bank of China (Hong Kong) launched a Greater Bay Area Youth card with meaningful benefits for locals who study or work in mainland China or plan to do so. Huawei Pay in Macau has been optimised to meet the needs of local ICBC UnionPay cardholders for QR code-based and contactless payments, with the number of consumers signing up surging nearly tenfold compared to one year prior.

UnionPay International
Source: UnionPay International

The UnionPay brand has become a household name in Hong Kong and Macau largely due to its growing product portfolio, with 36 local financial institutions having issued its cards. Debit cards are the preferred products, representing more than 90 percent of the selected solutions. Ten local banks have collectively issued over one million Greater Bay Area -themed cards. In 2018, UPI launched the Hong Kong and Macau version of UnionPay App in the two regions, which has to date been picked up by virtually every card issuer and has driven 19 local e-wallets in this region to support the UnionPay card. Over two million cards have been bound to e-wallets, nearly double the number from a year ago.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, UnionPay International enhanced its localised version of UnionPay App in Hong Kong and Macau by rolling out a series of services that made it more convenient to pay taxes and other social security obligations, handle local payments, arrange for household cleaning and book taxis, all of which satisfied the growing demand among the local populace for access to contactless payments.

With Macau reopening the border to mainland visitors and Hong Kong launching its Come2hk Scheme, the localised version of UnionPay App in the two regions has been accepted as a booking vehicle for nucleic acid testing, as well as an access point to Health Code International Edition, Macau Health Code and mainland China’s Communication Big Data Travel Card among other value-added services during the pandemic, providing convenience to people traveling to and from the Greater Bay Area.

Looking at the larger picture, UnionPay International makes full use of its brand integration to work closely with all stakeholders in a move to boost consumption in Hong Kong and Macau. In Hong Kong, UnionPay International responded to the consumption voucher program launched by the local government by providing a variety of payment solutions and applications for local residents in collaboration with HKT Payment Limited’s Tap & Go payment service. In Macau, UnionPay International rolled out a wide array of special offers, which raised the number of UnionPay card transactions during this year’s 1st May holiday to back to where it was prior to the pandemic.

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In the upcoming National Day holiday from 1st October, UnionPay International will tie up with more than 100 well-known brands to provide cardholders with a full range of offers and promotions, including a discount of up to 20 percent at local hotels, duty-free shops and restaurants.