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Brief Published: 31 Oct 2012

Ritz’s Chinese UnionPay Credit Card System Pays Off


London luxury hotel The Ritz saw the number of Chinese guests increase by 17% and spending by Chinese guests grow by 25% in 2011 after introducing Chinese credit card payment system UnionPay. UnionPay allows customers to pay with Chinese credit cards, which are not compatible with Western chip-and-pin terminals.

“We’re the first hotel to introduce China UnionPay credit cards,” managing director Stephen Boxall told British newspaper The Financial Times. “As a result the Chinese market became big for us over 2011 and we’re looking at a double-digit increase this year.” 

Estimates suggest that the UK misses out on £1.2bn ($1.9bn) from Chinese visitors a year as a result of its visa system, which requires a separate application in addition to the Europe-wide Schengen visa. A proposal from Britain’s airline and retail industry was made to the UK Border Agency in October 2012 to make the visa application process easier for Chinese tourists.

Read more about the behaviour and expectations of affluent Chinese tourists in the report Meet the Chinese Travellers.

The Ritz London