Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) has joined hands with Chinese payment service provider UnionPay International (UPI) to roll out new QR code payment services in Laos.
The move will enable UnionPay app users to make payments by scanning QR codes at local stores in the country, Cards International reported on July 22.
UnionPay currently operates one of the most popular mobile payment apps in China, with about 150 million users across 18 cities, including Shanghai. The company is also one of the largest players in the country’s bank card market by market share.
This means BCEL’s collaboration with UPI would help Laos’s local businesses to reach out to more Chinese visitors, who make up one of the largest sources of tourists.
More than 4.1 million visitors came to Laos in 2018, an 8.2 percent increase compared to 2017. More than 800,000 tourists came from China, a rise of 26 percent, according to the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Laos is also currently pushing for a promotional campaign, Visit Laos-China Year 2019, to attract more Chinese tourists.
“Since the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative, UnionPay has taken deep participation in the development of Laos’s payment industry by promoting card acceptance and issuance as well as participating in the building of local payment infrastructure, and have achieved much progress in our business localization in the country,” said UPI CEO Cai Jianbo, as quoted by Cards International.
“Now, UPI further expands its local service scope to mobile payments, not only meeting the mobile payment needs of visiting tourists, but also supporting the digitalization of Laos’s payment industry,” he added.
BCEL is already well known locally for its much-lauded OnePay app, which utilizes QR Code technology to allow local payments within Laos, and also offers payments directly from Laos to certain Thai bank accounts.