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Amex sticker in Chicago, Illinois on January 24. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

American Express gained greater access to China's spenders on Saturday after the People's Bank of China cleared the company to operate its card-clearing network in the mainland.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Felix Salmon: Until now it has been hard for Chinese nationals to obtain a card that is accepted by a broad range of international merchants, and it has been almost impossible for non-Chinese nationals to obtain a card (or app) that is accepted by a broad range of Chinese merchants.

  • It remains to be seen whether Amex will gain any traction in China, but this news has the potential to bridge two systems that until now have been almost entirely separate.

The big picture: American Express said in a Saturday press release that it is the first foreign payment network to be allowed to process domestic payments in yuan in China.

  • Amex said it expects to begin processing transactions through Express Company, made in partnership with a Chinese fintech services company, later this year.

Go deeper: China's V-shaped coronavirus recovery looks too good to be true

Go deeper

New downloads of TikTok, WeChat to be blocked in U.S. on Sunday

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Commerce Department issued Friday an order blocking new downloads of WeChat and TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 20.

The state of play: President Trump has been in a standoff with TikTok, threatening to ban the app if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, does not relinquish control to a U.S. company. A deal is in the works with the American tech company Oracle, but would need to go through before Sunday to prevent TikTok from being ousted from app stores.

5 mins ago - Health

Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

21 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.