China UnionPay, the sole domestic bank card organization in mainland China, recently released a report detailing Chinese travelers’ expenditure habits overseas. According to its report, Chinese travelers have demonstrated increased willingness to spend overseas, especially in food and shopping, with the increasing acceptance of China UnionPay as a payment method by retailers in other countries.
The report, jointly organized between China UnionPay and China’s tourism agency China Travel Service, looked at the consumption habits and choice destinations of China’s outbound travelers. It reports that outbound tourism growth has been at an average of 20 percent annually since 2004, and it expects to continue seeing such rosy growth rates for a while—it projects 15 percent growth in 2014, with an outbound number of 110 million people.
Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, and South Korea are hot destinations because of the relatively low cost and short traveling time from China. This is a great incentive for frequent repeat visits, and in 2013, these countries represented 80 percent of all outbound tourism from mainland China.
As foreign merchants have been accepting China UnionPay more and more since 2008, the card company has seen a 60 percent increase in transactions and a 15 percent increase in cash withdrawals overseas. Last year, China UnionPay accounted for 80 percent of payments by Chinese tourists. According to the report, 70 percent of travelers indicated that they were most willing to spend on food specialties when overseas, followed by shopping, at 57 percent.
China UnionPay and China Travel Service announced their plans to expand card benefits to China UnionPay users from the current 10 major cities around the world to 15. With 12 million merchants currently accepting China UnionPay and 1.1 million ATMs in 140 countries and regions around the world, China UnionPay expects to see greater usage of its cards and greater expenditure by China’s jet-set worldwide.