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By Yang Ge / Dec 20, 2019 01:41 PM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Financial services giant PayPal has moved one step closer in the race to become the first foreign firm offering domestic electronic payments in China after the U.S. company said it concluded the purchase of 70% of Gopay, a Chinese provider of electronic payment services.

While no value was given for the purchase, which was first announced three months ago, the deal is hugely significant because it makes PayPal the first foreign-owned company that will be able to officially process electronic payments in China’s local currency, the yuan.

The deal marks an inflection point in China’s journey to open its financial services to foreign investment in the two decades since it joined the WTO. In 2012, the U.S. won a dispute with China at the WTO after filing a complaint that the Asian nation was opening its markets too slowly.

In the seven years since that ruling, homegrown giants Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat payment service have come to dominate the lucrative market. State-owned UnionPay also operates a rival network used throughout the country.

MasterCard, Visa and American Express are pursing similar goals to PayPal. American Express is the furthest down the line, after receiving permission to operate in China a year ago.

Earlier this year, a source told Caixin that MasterCard had agreed to form a joint venture with China’s newly launched online clearinghouse Nets Union Clearing. No official announcement has yet been made.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

Related: PayPal at Last Obtains China Digital Payment License


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