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    UnionPay International helps the Chinese cardholders enjoy the Spring Festival abroad

    The Spring Festival is around the corner. Now, traveling has become a popular way to celebrate the lunar New Year. It is estimated that more than 6 million Chinese people will celebrate the Spring Festival abroad this year, marking a new high. According to the data from UnionPay International, the Chinese not only prefer Southeast and Northeast Asia as travel destinations, but also like visiting the US and Europe when going for long-distance travels. The transaction volume of UnionPay cards at overseas restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and tourist spots has witnessed remarkable growth, and this trend is expected to continue during the upcoming Spring Festival.

    If the outbound Chinese tourists reaches 6 million during the Spring Festival, this will mark a new high for the figure is two times of that of the past two years. Short-distance destinations and popular islands may become this year’s favorites. According to Report on Consumption Trend during the Spring Festival (2017) co-issued by Xinhua and Tongcheng Tourism, Europe, Japan, Thailand, Boracay Island, Nha Trang, Hong Kong and Macau, Phuket Island, South Korea, Bali and Singapore are the hottest ten travel destinations. Australia and New Zealand are also popular among tourists. Several travel agencies in mainland China and famous merchants in overseas markets believe that the UnionPay card has become a major payment method of the outbound Chinese.

    Using UnionPay cards in markets outside mainland China has many advantages: First, it is convenient. UnionPay cards are accepted in 160 countries and regions, covering 19 million merchants and 1.3 million ATMs outside the Chinese Mainland. There is no currency conversion fee for paying with UnionPay cards (card number starting with 62), and cardholders may enjoy Tax Refund Service, UnionPay VIP Lounge and Emergency Assistance Service offered by UnionPay. Second, it is safe. UnionPay chip cards are equipped with multiple security assurance, and are hard to duplicate, therefore can avoid many risks. Third, it is flexible. Cardholders are able not only to pay with mobile phones via mobile QuickPass at 400,000 POS terminals outside mainland China, but also to get instant discounts through UnionPay’s cross-border marketing service platform, U Plan. U Plan now covers more than 1,200 famous store outside mainland China and is still expanding.

    Many merchants are taking the acceptance of UnionPay cards as an important means of attracting customers and are launching many exclusive offers for UnionPay cards. UnionPay International recently launched a special campaign for the upcoming Spring Festival. From now to February 14, UnionPay cardholders around the world may enjoy up to 30%-off discounts when paying with UnionPay cards (card number starting with 62) at merchants in 15 selected travel destinations. These destinations include 9 short-distance destinations, namely Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and 6 long-distance destinations, namely the US, Australia, France, Italy, Britain, and Spain.

    This campaign has four highlights: First, it is participated by 15 duty-free groups and 20 department stores (including DFS, Lotte Duty Free, World Duty Free, Yodobashi, La Rinascente, and Macy's) and can meet tourists’ shopping demands. Second, it covers many types of places including hotels, bookstores and tourist attractions, including Mandarin Oriental, Maritim Hotel, Eslite bookstores in Taiwan, Bali Bird Park, Art Institute of Chicago, and Madame Tussauds. Third, multiple discounts are offered; many banks and travel agencies provide up to 21% cash back in conjunction with other discounts. Four, cardholders may experience U Plan at many famous brands, including Matsumotokiyoshi in Japan, Doota Shopping Center in South Korea and King Power Duty Free in Thailand.

    Since the end of last year, Australia, Malaysia, the UAE, Thailand and Serbia have offered favorable visa policies for Chinese citizens. For example, Chinese citizens may enter the UAE without visa application in advance and may stay in the country for 30 days. The Malaysian eNTRI policy for Chinese tourists will be valid till the end of 2017. Australia issues a 10-year visitor visas for frequent visitors with Chinese passports and who applied for the visa in mainland China. Thailand has cut down the visa application fees for tourists from 19 countries and regions, including China.

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