Standard Bank opens ATMs to China UnionPay customers

Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:09pm BST

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* China UnionPay customers can transact in S.Africa

* S'Bank looking to expand service to Africa, Argentina

JOHANNESBURG, April 13 (Reuters) - Standard Bank (SBKJ.J), Africa's biggest bank by assets, will allow customers of China UnionPay (CUP) to transact at its South African retail outlets as it seeks to capitalise on thousands of Chinese tourists visiting the country each year.

Standard Bank, 20 percent owned by the Industrial and Commercial bank of China (ICBC) (601398.SS) (1398.HK), said on Tuesday it had entered into a partnership with CUP which would allow its consumers to withdraw money at Standard Bank ATMs and make payments through its point-of-sale devices.

CUP is China's only bankcard association and interbank network and was established in March 2002. The deal gives its customers access to over 4,800 Standard Bank ATMs in South Africa.

"China UnionPay attaches great importance to the African market. As the African economic centre, South Africa is also our bridge to the rest of Africa," Cai Jianbo, first executive vice-president of China UnionPay, said.

Standard Bank Group Deputy Chief Executive and CEO of Standard Bank South Africa Sim Tshabalala said the bank also hoped to expand the service to its other African operations and to its Argentina business, but did not say when it would do so.

South African banks are increasingly looking to broaden their network and services elsewhere in Africa and China is also eager to establish a footprint on the continent through various partnerships, including banking and mining deals. (Reporting by Serena Chaudhry; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)