Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Credit for Chinese tourists capped at NT$20bn a year

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sales assistants swipe China UnionPay cards in Taipei yesterday at a ceremony to launch the Chinese credit card.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The nation’s credit card center capped the amount that Chinese tourists to Taiwan can spend using credit and debit cards issued by China UnionPay Co (中國銀聯), China’s only credit card network, at NT$20 billion (US$609.4 million) for the upcoming year, a center executive said yesterday.

Felix Ong (翁光輝), president of Taiwan’s National Credit Card Center (聯合信用卡中心), yesterday said he expected Chinese tourists to spend NT$35 billion a year and pay NT$20 billion of the amount through UnionPay. Chinese tourists had spent NT$15 million in the first three days after the new payment system’s introduction, Ong said on the sidelines of yesterday’s ceremony to launch the system. The inception ceremony, originally slated for Friday, was moved to yesterday because of Typhoon Morakot.

Jeffery Koo (辜濂松), chairman of the domestic credit card center, said the number of stores allowed to accept the Chinese debit and credit cards was set at 500 in the beginning, mostly at tourist attractions and night markets across the country. Koo said the center would seek to expand the service to Kinmen Island and Penghu County.

“With easier payments, I hope more Chinese tourists will visit Taiwan and spend more during their stay so as to benefit hoteliers, restaurants and retailers here,” Koo said.

Xu Luode (許羅德), CEO and president of China UnionPay, said many Chinese wanted to visit Taiwan would appreciate the new payment service.

“Credit payments are in great demand with the increase in Chinese tourism,” Xu said. “The introduction of UnionPay marked yet another leap in cross-strait financial ties.”

There are more than 1.9 billion UnionPay cards in circulation, which can be used in 62 different countries and regions around the world, Xu said. Headquartered in Shanghai in March 2002, UnionPay has 36 branches across China.

Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), which applied last month with the financial regulator to provide the payment service for UnionPay cardholders, yesterday vowed to accelerate its efforts to add 10,000 contracted stores to serve Chinese visitors.

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