Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 11 News List

China UnionPay cards to be accepted in Taiwan

OPENING WALLETS: Chinatrust Bank predicted that the amount of Chinese tourists would rise to 2 million visitors a year, spending a total of US$3bn in Taiwan

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Chinese visitors will be able to make purchases in Taiwan with bank cards issued by the China-based China UnionPay Co (中國銀聯) beginning tomorrow, a move that aimed to boost spending by Chinese tourists, the Taipei-based National Credit Card Center (NCCC, 聯合信用卡處理中心) said yesterday.

The decision will allow Chinese visitors to make purchases using China UnionPay bank cards instead of cash, NCCC president Felix Ong (翁光輝) said.

LIMIT

At present, Chinese tourists are limited to bringing 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) in cash per visit.

China and Taiwan are scheduled to make a joint announcement of the decision tomorrow at the National Palace Museum — one year after Taiwan relaxed restrictions on visits by tourists from China.

China UnionPay is China’s only national electronic payment network, an umbrella network that covers more than 80 banking institutions.

DOMINANT PLAYER

As the dominant player in China’s bank card industry, it has more than 1.8 billion cards in circulation.

The cards are accepted in 61 countries and regions outside China.

Earlier in the day, a China UnionPay delegation led by the company’s president, Xu Luode (�?w), arrived in Taipei to announce the decision, made possible by the acquiescence of the Taiwanese authorities.

Speaking on his second visit to Taiwan, Xu hailed Taiwan’s decision to accept the use of bank cards issued by China UnionPay.

‘MILESTONE’

“It will not only significantly help increase business volume on both sides but will also mark a milestone in two-way financial cooperation and facilitate Chinese visitors’ spending in Taiwan,” he said.

His delegation members included executives from major Chinese banking institutions such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (中國工商銀行), the Agricultural Bank of China (中國農業銀行), Bank of China (中國銀行), China Construction Bank (中國建設銀行) and Bank of Communications (交通銀行).

ESTIMATES

Officials from the Taiwan-based Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託銀行), Taiwan’s largest card issuer, have estimated that the spending volume of Chinese visitors is likely to hit NT$100 billion (US$3 billion) annually. They based their figures on a projected 2 million tourist arrivals from China per year with each spending an average of NT$48,000.

Government statistics show that tourist arrivals from China have totaled 380,000 since Taiwan opened its doors wider to Chinese tourists in July last year.

Daily spending by Chinese tourists averaged NT$10,000 during the first six months of the opening.

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