American Express announced this week that its joint venture with Express (Hangzhou) Technology Services Company Limited (“Express Company”), has received approval from People’s Bank of China (PBOC) for a network clearing license. With this clearance, American Express has become the first foreign payments network to be licensed to clear RMB transactions in mainland China. The company is expected to begin this process later this year.

“We are pleased to be the first foreign company to receive this license. This approval represents an important step forward in our long-term growth strategy and is a historic moment, not only for American Express but for the continued growth and development of the payments industry in mainland China,” said Stephen J. Squeri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express.

Adding further Squeri said, “We look forward to welcoming millions of new consumers, businesses and merchants in China to American Express, as well as continuing to enhance our support for our global customers when they travel to the region.”

Express company is American Express’s joint venture with Lianlian DigiTech Co Ltd, which is a Chinese fintech service company. This JV has a network which will clear domestic transactions charged on AmEx branded cards and is compatible with the key mobile players in China.

“We are proud to be the first licensed foreign payments network in mainland China. We will offer our partners differentiated services by bringing together the best from American Express and Lianlian,” said Walter Liu, CEO of Express company. “Our focus now is to continue the preparation work for a successful business launch by working closely with the regulators and partners.”