JCB, the only Asian-based international payment brand, says that its international subsidiary, JCB International, signed an ATM gateway agreement with China UnionPay (CUP).

This will enable CUP cardholders to have access to ATM networks in Japan through a gateway platform provided by JCBI.

The acceptance will begin with the UFJ Bank ATM network of more than 6,000 ATMs from March 2006, the first time that CUP's 800 million members will be able to use an ATM network in Japan. Following the arrangement with UFJ Bank, the acceptance will be expanded to Japan Post which will open its network of 26,000 ATMs to CUP cards starting in May 2006.

"We are happy to partner with CUP for this new business opportunity," said Hiroya Nobuhara, Chairman and CEO of JCBI. "Visitors from China to Japan will experience a significant increase in convenience, and this arrangement will certainly contribute to the expansion of Japan's tourist industry and the creation of new opportunity for financial institutions in Japan by serving Chinese travelers," he added.

Liu Yongchun, Director and Executive Vice President of China UnionPay said, "Through this partnership with JCB, CUP cardholders can now enjoy a tremendous new service with access to ATM networks in Japan. In line with our commitment to the best customer service and quality, we are pleased to offer the increasing numbers of Chinese travelers to Japan the benefits and convenience of ATM access, as well as generate a new business opportunities for financial institutions and ATM operators in Japan"

China UnionPay, based in Shanghai and licensed by People's Bank of China, is China's only national payment network, and was jointly established in March 2002 by more than 80 financial institutions in China.

The number of Chinese visiting Japan has been growing rapidly in recent years, reaching 620,000 in 2004, a significant increase of 37% over the previous year, and is expected to climb to one million in the near future. The acceptance of CUP cards at Japan's ATMs will bring a new revenue stream for financial institutions and ATM operators in Japan.

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