Total System Services Inc.'s joint venture with China's only credit card network has landed five processing contracts with issuers in China and Malaysia.

The Columbus, Ga., processor said this week that China UnionPay Data Services Co. will process credit card transactions for the Chinese financial companies Yaodu Credit Cooperative, Shandong Provincial City Commercial Banks Alliance, Yunan Rural Credit Union and Guangxi Beibu Gulf Bank.

It will also handle prepaid card payments for KargoCard Sdn Bhd, a retail marketing firm in Malaysia that is developing several stored-value and reloadable gift card products that it plans to introduce in Asia.

"These agreements are all start-up contracts," a TSYS representative said. The Chinese contracts "represent city banks, which are now at the end of the 'new issuance' cycle. We think this is an important growth market, given the dynamics of the banking environment in China."

The joint venture already processes payments for five prepaid card issuers, but the Malaysian deal is its "first for prepaid cards from outside of China," the representative said.

The joint venture, with the payments network operator China UnionPay, has more than 60 card-processing deals.

TSYS bought a 35% stake in China UnionPay's processing unit in 2005 and expanded it the next year to 44.5%. TSYS has said the venture is an important part of its plans to grow in Asia.

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