UnionPay, the national bank card payment processor, saw its overseas mobile transaction volume surge during the weeklong 2018 Spring Festival vacation, when millions of Chinese people celebrated the traditional festival abroad.
Figures from UnionPay show that its volume of overseas mobile transactions completed via the UnionPay Mobile QuickPass — a form of near-field communication technology payment — and QR codes increased 150 percent year-on- year during the traditional Chinese New Year holiday from Feb 15 to 21. The number of mobile transactions was three times higher than in 2017.
An increasing number of overseas businesses have started to offer UnionPay QR code payment services in a bid to cater to the changing demands of UnionPay cardholders.
Leading up to the 2018 Chinese New Year, businesses in Nepal, Djibouti, Kenya and many other countries and regions launched UnionPay QR code payment services.
The company has partnered with Kenya's largest banking service provider KCB Bank to expand its QR code payment service network. UnionPay QR code payment services are offered over the counter at Kenya Airways, South African Airways, chain store operator Naukumat and KFC. More than 2,500 businesses in the country are set to join UnionPay's QR code payment network by the end of 2018.
In Nepal, popular outdoor products and equipment retailers, such as The North Face and Marmot, advertise their UnionPay facilities in clearly visible places to catch the attention of Chinese travelers. More than 1,000 local businesses will offer such services by the end of 2018.
In Djibouti, the number of stores offering UnionPay's QR code payment service will reach about 500 at the end of March, according to the company.
It said a great number of businesses in Indonesia, Cambodia and Mauritius will launch the service in the next few months, and it has already been launched in Singapore and Vietnam, as well as China's Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
Apart from QR code payments, the UnionPay Mobile QuickPass was also popular among Chinese travelers during the Spring Festival holiday.
UnionPay cardholders can make QuickPass payments in 18 countries and regions, including Singapore, Australia and Russia. Some stores in Japan and China's Hong Kong offered exclusive discounts to UnionPay QuickPass users.
Although mobile payment is gaining popularity among Chinese travelers, traditional bank cards
remain the most highly favored payment tool.
Overseas businesses have taken measures to offer more convenience for UnionPay cardholders over the past few years.
Emporium Melbourne, a major shopping center in the Australian city, launched UnionPay card payment services before the 2018 Chinese New Year.
"Accepting UnionPay makes for simple and pleasant shopping experiences for Chinese tourists who visit during the Spring Festival holiday," said Kate Rooney, manager of Emporium Melbourne.
Figures from UnionPay show that its services are available at over 23 million businesses and 1.64 million ATMs in 168 countries and regions. During this year's Spring Festival holiday, noted restaurants, hotels, stores and entertainment service providers in 22 popular overseas tourist destinations offered exclusive discounts of up to 30 percent for UnionPay cardholders.
Supported by the expanding service network, Chinese travelers are becoming more active in using UnionPay cards in overseas markets.
UnionPay cards were used in 127 countries and regions during this year's Spring Festival holiday period, increasing from 117 in 2017.
The transaction volume in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative increased significantly during the vacation, doubling in countries such as Turkey, Sri Lanka and Morocco, and increasing nearly 40 percent in some countries, including Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
In addition to Chinese cardholders, UnionPay said it also strives to expand its client base in overseas markets. About 90 million UnionPay cards have been issued abroad, which allow foreign travelers to gain more convenience when they visit China.
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