Chinese consumers are planning to celebrate the Chinese New Year by traveling outside of the country, prompting UnionPay to expand its acceptance footprint.
In a press release, the payments company – citing a recent report from Ctrip.com covering travel plans for the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival – said that seven million Chinese will spend the holiday overseas, which marks a new high. Another survey by glz.com.cn found that Chinese tourists are traveling to more destinations, including Latin America, the Balkans, Laos and Myanmar. Those areas are expected to see more Chinese tourism than in past years.
In order to meet the payment needs of the travelers, UnionPay said it has extended its footprint to 174 countries and regions. In the second half of 2018, according to the company, Serbia, Montenegro and Jamaica started accepting UnionPay cards. On the eve of the Spring Festival, merchants in the U.K., Poland and Georgia began accepting the UnionPay mobile payment services, offering more payment options to Chinese tourists. The press release noted that to date, the payment option is accepted at more than 26 million merchant locations outside of mainland China.
UnionPay noted that in Latin America, which is becoming a new choice for travelers residing in China, UnionPay is accepted in 14 countries and regions. In Argentina, for example, the local ATM network RED LINK has enabled all of its ATM terminals to accept UnionPay cards, raising UnionPay’s ATM coverage to more than 60 percent. UnionPay International has also partnered with Jamaica Commercial Bank to offer payment service in the country, where UnionPay is now accepted at 70 percent of merchants. In Cuba, UnionPay is accepted at almost all ATMs and POS terminals. Almost all ATMs in Panama and about 90 percent of ATMs in Mexico accept UnionPay cards as well.
UnionPay noted that with the Spring Festival travel peak coming, it is offering cardholders up to a 30 percent discount at tens of thousands of merchant locations across thirty countries and regions.