Santander UK, via its merchant acquiring partner Elavon, will from the spring enable its business customers to join the growing European networks of well-known Chinese payment wallet providers, across e-commerce solutions.

Through Elavon, Santander customers will have the option to accept these Chinese payment methods (including UnionPay and other relevant Chinese fintech companies which offer these services) via their own websites from early 2018. Elavon plans to expand this functionality across its POS solutions, which already accept UnionPay, by the end of 2018.

This will be a major boost for business customers looking to export to China with a growing market of 200 million more online retail shoppers projected and online retail sales expected to double to USD 1.7 trillion by 20201.

There has also been significant growth in the number of Chinese expats and students living in the UK, together with the increasing spend of Chinese tourists (average spend per transaction for Chinese shoppers was £922 in 2017, a 23.5 per cent increase from 2016 where average spend per transaction was £7462) when visiting the UK. It will now be much easier for them to make purchases in the UK with their existing payment provider.

Michael Vallance, Managing Director of Transaction Banking at Santander Corporate Banking, said: “In working with Elavon to make these exciting Chinese payment solutions available, we are not only enabling UK businesses to accept more types of alternative payments as quickly as possible; we are also giving them access to the Chinese e-commerce market where the demand for quality UK goods is continuing to increase. We can now therefore support UK businesses entering this market without necessarily the need for a physical footprint in China.”

Hannah Fitzsimons, General Manager for Elavon Europe added: “Customers today are looking for a wide range of payment options. They want to pay for the goods and services they buy wherever, whenever and however they choose. With the growing spending power of Chinese consumers, it’s important that businesses offer payment brands which are familiar and accessible to this important target audience. We’re delighted to partner with Santander around this opportunity.”

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