Huawei signed a deal with UnionPay to expand availability of Huawei Pay outside of China for the first time.
In a statement, the companies said Russia would be the first launch, followed by other “belt and road” countries and regions – a list of locations identified by the Chinese state as priorities in future trading activities.
Huawei Pay is the Chinese manufacturer’s retail payment app, which uses NFC and biometrics to verify payments made with Huawei handsets. It launched in September 2016 in mainland China and in 2017 was used to perform CNY4 billion ($632 million) worth of transactions.
UnionPay is a China-headquartered credit and debit card company. Its cards are offered by banks around the world, including the largest banks in China and major financial institutions along the belt and road routes. In Russia, 1.3 million UnionPay cards have been issued from ten of the country’s financial institutions.
In exporting the service internationally, Huawei will move into markets with services already offered by rival manufacturers on their handsets – including Samsung and Apple. It will also compete with Google, which offers similar services through Android Pay on any device running its operating system, including those offered by Huawei.