China UnionPay Co (中國銀聯), China’s only credit card network, plans to set up an office in Taiwan in view of increased credit card transactions by Chinese tourists, a top company executive said yesterday.
China UnionPay chief executive officer and president Xu Luode (許羅德) made the statement after inaugurating new services that allow cardholders to pay taxi fares and purchase high speed rail tickets in Taiwan.
“The business of UnionPay cards has progressed quickly and steadily in Taiwan, thanks to -support from both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” Xu said.
The new services came ahead of the government’s relaxation of rules governing independent travel by Chinese tourists, which starts on Tuesday. Currently, Chinese tourists can only travel to Taiwan in tour groups.
Xu said China UnionPay has filed applications with the government to establish an office and conveyed its wish to seek approval to issue credit and debit cards.
At present, UnionPay cardholders can only make payments at about 40,000 contracted stores and use 17,000 of the nation’s automated teller machines (ATM).
Transactions by China UnionPay cardholders in Taiwan totaled 8.2 billion yuan (NT$35.3 billion) between the rollout of the payment service in August 2009 and Monday, Xu said, adding that the figures for the first five months of this year were equal to that for all of last year because more Chinese visited Taiwan.
China UnionPay has entered into cooperative ventures with local taxi service providers and it aims to lift the ATM coverage ratio from the current 70 percent to 80 percent by the end of the month, and to 100 percent in the not too distant future, Xu said.
China UnionPay has 2.5 billion credit and debit cards in circulation in different countries worldwide.