American Express announced yesterday it will begin offering travelers checks in Chinese yuan for international travelers to the country as it expects a continued flood in tourists there.
As of May 10, travelers from the US, Britain, Canada, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore will be able to purchase yuan travelers checks at home before traveling to China.
“We are delighted to provide travelers to China with the convenience of yuan currency combined with the safety and security that only Travelers Cheques can provide,” Alpesh Chokshi, president of the Global Prepaid section of American Express, told reporters.
The checks are being offered in partnership with the Bank of China (中國銀行). The company said it expects China to become the world’s most popular travel destination by 2015.
Last year, inbound travelers spent US$39.7 billion in China, the company said. In addition, the Shanghai World Expo is expected to bring in another 3.5 million international tourists between next month and October.
The move also comes amid deep discontent in the US Congress over alleged Chinese currency manipulation, which lawmakers charge makes Chinese exports artificially cheap and costs US jobs and economic growth.
Speculation is growing that Beijing may soon let the yuan — effectively pegged to the dollar since mid-2008 — appreciate, which will make Chinese shipments of electronics, clothes and shoes more expensive, but help boost consumer spending by reducing the cost of imported products.