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KB Kookmin Card, LG Uplus take aim at Chinese fintech market

Two partners to introduce mobile credit card in July

Korean mobile carrier LG Uplus said Thursday it concluded its partnership with major Korean and Chinese credit companies to foster the financial technology sector in both nations.

Top executives of the Korean mobile carrier, KB Financial Group and its credit card business unit KB Kookmin Card, China UnionPay, the only Chinese bank card organization, and its affiliate UnionPay International signed a memorandum of understanding at the LG Uplus head office Thursday to collaborate and nurture mobile card businesses.

Subscribers of LG Uplus and credit card users of KB Kookmin Card and UnionPay International can start using digital credit cards on their mobile devices from July. The digital cards using near-field communication technology can be used for payment at brick-and-mortar and online stores in Korea and China.

Yoon Jong-kyoo (left), chairman of KB Financial Group, Ge Huayong (center), chairman of China UnionPay and UnionPay International, and Lee Sang-chul, chief executive of LG Uplus, pose after signing an MOU for collaboration in the financial technology sector in Seoul on Thursday. (LG Uplus)
Yoon Jong-kyoo (left), chairman of KB Financial Group, Ge Huayong (center), chairman of China UnionPay and UnionPay International, and Lee Sang-chul, chief executive of LG Uplus, pose after signing an MOU for collaboration in the financial technology sector in Seoul on Thursday. (LG Uplus)

“The MOU means that Union Pay International recognized LG Uplus’ advanced technology, which is at the forefront of the local ‘fintech’ industry,” said Lee Sang-chul, chief executive of the Korean mobile carrier.

China UnionPay has issued some 4.6 billion plastic cards worldwide. Total transactions made through the cards last year stood at 41 trillion yuan ($6.6 trillion).

The mobile payments will also boost tourism and commerce of the two nations by making payments easier for tourists, according to LG Uplus.

Around 6.1 million Chinese tourists visited Korea last year, according to data compiled by the Korea Tourism Organization.

“The collaboration between the mobile carrier and the credit card firms is the first of its kind and will be able to help the partners take the upper hand in the Chinese fintech market, too,” Kim Duk-soo, chief executive of the Korea’s second-largest credit card issuer by market share.

Fintech, a term that depicts convergence between financial services and information technology, came under the spotlight in recent years as it is expected to become the next growth engine for the tech and financial sectors.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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