American Express picks up stake in Chinese mobile top up provider Lianlian Group

Telecom Lead Team:

American Express announced its agreement with Chinese mobile top up
provider Lianlian Group.

agreement will allow Lianlian Group to use Serve, a commerce technology, in
products and services it develops for its consumer and business customers in

The Serve
platform, which American Express will license to Lianlian Group, is expected to
help power a new Lianlian Group digital wallet that consumers can use to top up
mobile phone minutes, pay bills and purchase products or services.

Express has also made an equity investment in Lianlian Pay, an overseas company
of the Lianlian group of companies. The company did not disclose the size of
the investment.

Group has served approximately 300 million mobile phone accounts. It operates a
network of over 300,000 small business agents across China where customers can
top up minutes on their mobile phones.

A portion of
that network also facilitates customer payments for airline tickets, video
gaming credits and utility bills. American Express will work closely with
Lianlian Group to better serve millions of agents and consumers in China by
delivering a convenient digital payment technology.

leveraging Serve into its infrastructure, Lianlian Group will be well positioned
to enable consumers to bridge the gap between the limitation of paying with
cash and the opportunities associated with digital commerce,” said Dan
Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth, American Express.

With Serve
powering its new digital wallet, Lianlian Group will be offering customers a
fast and convenient way to handle day-to-day transactions, beginning with
mobile top up minutes and over time expanding into other financial products and
services. It will also help to build new business for local merchants in the
fastest growing consumer market in the world.

Express’ partnership with Lianlian Group and the future integration of Serve’s
technology with our extensive network will enable Lianlian to better serve
consumers and merchants in China,” said Arthur Zhu, CEO, Lianlian Pay
Corporation, an overseas company of Lianlian Group.

Express’ Enterprise Growth Group will open a new office in Hangzhou, China with
a team providing technical and consulting support to Lianlian Group. The office
will be headed by Matthew Lee, president, Enterprise Growth, American Express,
China. Lee will be in charge of the business unit’s operation and business

China is a
strategic market for American Express and the company has relationships with
some of China’s leading financial institutions. Industrial and Commercial Bank
of China, China International Trust and Investment Corporation, China Merchants
Bank and Bank of China issue American Express-branded credit cards in China.

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