HELSINKI, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Nets, the largest Nordic payments provider, has decided to offer China UnionPay, the world's largest card issuer, the access to its Finnish clients, UnionPay confirmed on Saturday.
Through the cooperation, UnionPay hopes to elevate the current over 20 percent acceptance in Finland to 65 percent to 70 percent this year, or no later than 2020, said Shi Wenchao, president of China UnionPay and board member of UnionPay International.
Shi said he sees an increasing enthusiasm of UnionPay card holders to travel to the Nordic region, which means that "we are going to serve more people, more cardholders and a bigger market."
"We are extremely happy to strengthen the relationship with UnionPay," said Sirpa Nordlund, Country Director of Finland and Senior Vice President of Nets.
At the launching ceremony on Friday, she reminded that Finland's position as one of the world's top tourist destinations has been strengthened in recent years, and the fact has been reflected by the increase of Chinese tourists in this Nordic country.
During 2014-2018, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Finland grew over 142 percent, and the number of overnight stays grew by 250 percent. "Finnish travel industry estimates that there is huge potential left, especially in Lapland, with northern lights," she said.
According to Chinese Ambassador to Finland Chen Li, China was Finland's second largest tourism source beyond the EU in 2018.
"The powerful alliance between UnionPay and Nets will yield safer and more convenient UnionPay card services for users in Finland and will also further boost the economic ties and people to people exchanges between China and Finland," said Chen.
This year marks the 17th anniversary of China UnionPay, a late comer if compared with VISA and MASTERCARD. With over 7 billion UnionPay cards issued in Chinese mainland and 150 million in overseas markets, the young company has surpassed VISA to become the world's largest card organization.
Shi said UnionPay is embracing new technologies including artificial intelligence, 5G communications and block chain. It has been discussing with its partners about the possible QR solutions as well.
"UnionPay has a mission of building an international brand of a global network, and we aim to become a provider of integrated payment services with global influence," said Shi.
UnionPay has previously been granted acceptance to Nets' merchants in Denmark, achieving 90 percent coverage in the country. It has also gained access to over half merchants in Sweden.