Small Business Saturday kicks off holiday shopping with a bang while Yandex.Checkout and Nets both launch new payment platforms. The European Union also blocks geoblocking and UnionPay launches QR code payments in Singapore.

Here’s your weekly news roundup.

American Express partners with online marketplace Etsy for Small Business Saturday 2017. And according to CNBC, this first-time collaboration met the marketplace demand with five pop-up locations in New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Antonio, Texas and Wichita, Kansas.

Held this year on Nov. 25, the American Express-sponsored holiday has grown in credibility and demand with 7,000 communities across the U.S. participating in the event. This number is up from 6,700 last year, according to the same article.

A recent AMEX press release touted positive data results from the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, reporting that an impressive 61% of U.S. consumers were aware of Small Business Saturday and 82% of them said they would make a point to shop and dine at small, independently owned establishments.

UnionPay International partners with Bank of China Singapore Branch (BOCSG) to launch the BOCSG e-wallet app. Slated to launch before the year’s end, the new app will enable UnionPay cardholders to make UnionPay QR code payments, as stated in the press release.

According to Cai Jianbo, CEO of UnionPay International, via the same release, the capability is already available in Hong Kong and Macau.

Regarding the recent launch in Singapore, Jianbo explains how it “not only demonstrates that UnionPay is accelerating the rollout of QR code payments worldwide, but also shows that innovation has become a significant impetus for the localized development of Chinese financial institutions that have gone abroad.”

And, according to The Business Times, UnionPay International is also collaborating with AsiaMalls Management to launch UnionPay QR Code payments across all six AsiaMalls Singapore establishments in 2018.

Russian payment facilitator Yandex.Checkout has launched a new payments platform to enhance speed and efficiency with online payment acceptance.  According to a company press release, the new platform will benefit merchants with a better user experience when it comes to setting up online payments with bank cards, e-wallets, online banking, direct carrier billing and soon Apple Pay, the company said. The API also enables access to other Yandex.Checkout offerings such as refunds or online cash register support.

The company is also offering new offer-driven functionality developed to enhance customer acquisition efforts and increase sales. With this new capability, pre-selected and customer-centric offers will be shown to users on Yandex.Checkout at the point of purchase. And all payment data can now be viewed via the Yandex.Checkout dashboard.

Payments provider Nets is also investing in a new payments platform. And according to The Business Times, the $30 million investment (set to span over three years) targets the Singapore area for the launch. The investment is backed by DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank (each bank owning one third of the company).

The publication also reports that half of the $30 million investment will be utilized for marketing efforts, while the other half is reserved for infrastructure and merchant setup costs. This same article also details that future plans for the company include a unified, interoperable QR code payment system that will be offered at “more than 100,000 acceptance points at 37,000 merchants nationwide.”

The European Union brings an end to geoblocking. Used by online retailers to prevent country-specific customers from shopping on their platforms, the practice of geoblocking has become a popular one in European commerce.

But in an effort to create and maintain a unified marketplace, the European Parliament, the EU’s 28 member states and the European Commission have mandated that all online retailers operating in the bloc must now make their items available to all EU customers – regardless of where they reside, according to The Paypers.

According to the same article, the mandate applies to all qualified ecommerce sites – including Amazon and eBay – and requires consent before consumers can be redirected to a country-specific website.