Huawei and UnionPay International recently signed a new agreement which will allow the tech giant to push its mobile payment solution – Huawei Pay – beyond the borders of China. The first region where Huawei Pay will launch next will be Russia, where more than 400,000 point-of-sale terminals currently accept mobile contactless payments through UnionPay. After Russia, Huawei and UnionPay intend on pushing the service further into Eastern European markets, though as of this writing it’s unclear exactly when this may happen and which regions might have priority over others.
Huawei Pay was first launched in China back in 2016 in collaboration with UnionPay, and throughout last year, the service was used to process around four billion yuan ($636 million) worth of payments in the region. Though an exact launch date for the service outside of China was not provided, Huawei’s recent announcement reveals that Russia will be the first country beyond its homeland’s borders to accept mobile payments through its service. More than ten banks in Russia have issued around 1.3 million UnionPay bank cards as of today, and their cards are accepted at roughly 85 percent of ATMs and point-of-sale terminals in the country, of which 400,000 terminals accept mobile contactless payments as well. In China, Huawei Pay is currently supported by 66 banks and works with a total of 20 mobile devices including smartphones and smartwatches made by Huawei and its subsidiary Honor.
It’s worth noting that most other mobile payment solutions with which Huawei inevitably competes – such as Apple Pay, Android Pay (now Google Pay), and Samsung Pay – don’t have much of a presence in the eastern part of the Old Continent, so it looks as if Huawei may want to establish a foothold in the region and capitalize on this potential market before its rivals with the goal of establishing an early lead instead of catching up to others. According to UnionPay International, the collaboration with Huawei opens up new possibilities for the company on a global scale and allows them to strengthen their footprints in select regions, whereas the partnership should also help to increase the influence of China’s independent mobile payment applications on a global level.