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Microchip crisis in Russia. Moscow is turning to Chinese manufacturers for cards connected to the Mir system

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Western sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine have excluded the country from the global financial system and deprived it of nearly half of its $ 640 billion gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Oleg Tishakov, a member of the board of the National Card Payment System (NSPK), said Russia was facing a shortage of microchips as Asian producers suspended production due to the coronavirus pandemic, while European suppliers stopped cooperate with Russia following sanctions.

“We are looking for new suppliers of microchips and we have found a few in China, the certification process is underway,” Tisakov told a conference on Tuesday, without giving further details.

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Some of Russia’s largest banks no longer have access to the global SWIFT banking system, and international Visa and MasterCard payment cards have ceased to serve Russian accounts abroad.

Mir’s connection to Apple Pay was removed last month.

NSPK issued more than 2 million Mir cards between the end of 2021 and March 2022, according to Reuters estimates based on system data, with a total of 116 million active cards.

All major Russian banks have reported increased demand for the national card, which some are now co-branding with China’s UnionPay, an alternative payment system to Visa and MasterCard for Russian purchases abroad.

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Mir cards are also accepted by some banks in Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Georgia, separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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