The global ecommerce market has grown dramatically in every region around the world over the past few years. China is leading the pack with ecommerce growth. A recent Payfort report states that China ecommerce growth is over 35% for 2014. In 2013 China’s digital consumer spending exceeded the United States for the first time and has not looked back. There are projections that by the end of 2015 it will be 2.5 times that of the United States.
UnionPay was established in 2002 by the People’s Bank of China and is the only domestic China-based bank card organization within the People’s Republic of China (PRC). UnionPay is a payment option that should be considered by owners of e-businesses who wish to have a segment of the Chinese consumer market for either in-country ecommerce or to attract the business of Chinese travelers. UnionPay enables the citizens of China a cashless method to make payments in-country and while traveling. UnionPay Online Payments (UPOP) is the payment method provided by UnionPay for cardholders to use when making purchases online. A large majority of the issued cards are debit cards with only a small percentage issued as credit cards.
Planet Payment (https://www.planetpayment.com), a payment processing company that delivers payment processing and multi-currency solutions to over 70 financial services institutions around the world reports:
- 3.5 billion+ UnionPay cards issued
- 200 million cardholders use UnionPay to buy online
- 150+ card issuing banks support UnionPay in China
In 2005, according to a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report, Chinese travelers ranked 7th for tourist spending. They are now number one, according to a 2013 UNWTO report. That 2013 report also details that between 2011 and 2012 Chinese tourist spending increased 40% from $73 billion USD to $102 billion USD. Travel Payments Direct (https://travelpaymentsdirect.com) reports that “China is number one in spending per traveler to the U.S. The average Chinese tourist now spends about $6,000 per trip, up from $3,000 just two years ago.”
The Dominant Payment Card in China
As stated above, there are 3.5 billion+ UnionPay cards issued. Over 750 million people carry at least one UnionPay card. Many carry multiple UnionPay debit cards for multiple accounts and may carry a credit card version as well. Compare this with the United States where only 211 million people carry one or more of a Visa, MasterCard, Discover and/or American Express card.
UnionPay has strong security built into their processes/system that limits opportunities for chargebacks and/or fraud. When making an online purchase, a customer must enter their credit/debit card number and enter a unique pin number only they know. Next, the system will send them an SMS text message with a code number they will enter to complete the transaction. In offline use, customers will not be sent an SMS message as they will have the physical card in hand, but will still need to match it with their pin number. Given this level of security at the time of purchase, UnionPay’s level of chargebacks to e-businesses and offline stores is incredibly low.
How to Set Up UnionPay on Your Website
As a provider of comprehensive website localization services, Globalization Partners International (GPI) supports clients who require Chinese website localization services. Whether a hotel in the States trying to attract Asian guests, or a high end sports apparel company looking to increase its market share of Chinese teens looking for top brands, we offer Chinese website translation, desktop publishing and global SEO. GPI has developed strategic alliances with companies that can provide our clients additional services including online payment services.
If you are seeking a full online checkout application/service for your Chinese consumers, International Checkout would be a great option. They offer UnionPay through Planet Payment. If you are only seeking to add UnionPay for your online business, you can contact Planet Payment directly or visit www.asiacheckout.com, which is a joint site between International Checkout and Planet Payment. For online and offline needs for UnionPay, Travel Payments Direct would be another option who can assist you.
The card is not just for use in China. Early adopters of UnionPay are travel & tourism/hospitality companies seeking to attract the Chinese business person and tourist to their properties located throughout the world. Next level adoptees have been luxury stores and restaurants.
If you are running an online e-business and want a piece of the Chinese consumer market either for in-country eCommerce or the business of a Chinese traveler, you may want to accept UnionPay as one of your payment options.
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