WorldFirst, a London-based international payment service provider, announced Thursday it had made a request to the Chinese central bank to retract its application for a payment license “out of commercial concerns.”
WorldFirst was the first foreign firm to apply for such license, which would allow foreign players access to China’s massive but highly competitive payments market. WorldFirst did not elaborate on what its “commercial concerns” were, only saying that China will continue to be an important market for the company.
As part of China’s efforts to further open up its financial services sector, the Chinese central bank started accepting license applications from foreign players in March last year. The central bank has stipulated that foreign players who wish to launch payment services in China will need to establish local units, set up payment infrastructure and store clients’ data within China.