Visa and Mastercard share a common frustration: Neither is doing business in China more than a year after both companies submitted applications (paywall) to process renminbi payments, the Chinese central bank has yet to acknowledge and formally accept their applications.
Late last year, American Express became the only foreign payment provider allowed to work in China, through a 50-50 partnership with a domestic company. In a call with analysts last night (Jan. 30), Visa CEO Al Kelly outlined the company’s own interim plan to partner with Chinese integrated financial services platform Lakala for the next three years, connecting the provider to millions of Chinese customers. But the longterm goal is a domestic license with no such strings attached. The application may be filed but, as Kelly said on the call, “we continue to work closely with the Chinese regulators and government to understand how to best proceed through the application premises.” In short, no news.