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AmEx Is First Foreign Payment Company Granted Access to China

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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Oliver Smith


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