B2B Payments

Commercial Card Dominance Moving East

The West typically dominates the world’s payment card market, but when it comes to corporate card products, new research suggests China may be headed to lead the pack.

In a study released yesterday (Oct. 27), analysts at Packaged Facts pointed to China and the eastern part of the world as the region fueling commercial card growth, largely due to the heightened economic power of the area and a spike in corporate travel needs. The trend also means China’s payment processors are gaining new ground on their Western rivals.

[bctt tweet=”Analysts are pointing to China as fueling commercial card growth across the globe.”]

Commercial Payment Cards: U.S. and Global Market Trends” found that China could become the world’s largest corporate travel market as early as next year. Spend on international travel fueled by the country has seen fourfold growth in the last six years, while the volume of Chinese traveling abroad is also at new highs.

In a statement, Packaged Facts Research Director David Sprinkle said that the economic shifts in favor of China means the nation could end decades of Western dominance of the commercial card market.

He pointed specifically to the nation’s payment network, China UnionPay, which has grown more aggressive at providing cross-border and international services.

“China UnionPay has strategically moved abroad, furthering its goal of being ‘wherever the Chinese go,’” Sprinkle said. “In the bargain, it has become a global institution that is more aggressively competing with established Western networks on their own turf.”

The report assesses payment trends among an array of card and payment technologies and focuses on market spend by card network and business size, among other topics of commercial payments, the company said.

While China is seen as achieving a greater share of the commercial card and corporate payments sector, the country has also made moves to enhance its capabilities in B2B eCommerce, and competitors have largely focused on the Chinese market to roll out new B2B payments solutions in recent months.

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The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.