UnionPay International has teamed up with Belgazprombank to issue its first card in Belarus. Together, the companies intend to issue 20,000 UnionPay cards this year, including payroll cards for local residents.

Now, residents in Belarus will be able to sign up for UnionPay chip debit cards at Belgazprombank branches. Currently, all ATMs and merchants of Belgazprombank accept UnionPay cards.

Other regional lenders, Belarusbank and BPS-Sberbank, also have tie-ups with UnionPay International. UnionPay anticipates its acceptance in the country to reach more than 60% in 2019.

The latest move takes the number of countries having issued UnionPay cards to 52. Of these countries, 36 are located along the Belt and Road region.

The latest partnership will offer a “stronger support” to the exchange between China and Belarus. Commenting on the development, UnionPay said:

“As one of the first countries that have joined the Belt and Road Initiative, Belarus plays a significant role in the region”.

And China has been its third largest trading partner and the second largest source of imports for many consecutive years.

“A mutual visa-free policy was implemented by the two countries in 2018, which, as predicted by local tourism authorities, will drive the Chinese tourists visiting Belarus to grow by over 15% annually.”