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Published on : Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Under the common witness of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, UnionPay International and the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism signed a MOU in Beijing on December 17, agreeing to jointly enhance the service level of UnionPay in Russia, in order to better support the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. Ge Huayong, China UnionPay Chairman, Cai Jianbo, UnionPay International CEO, and Oleg Safonov, Director-general of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism attended the signing ceremony.
China has become the largest tourist source country of Russia, and tourists travelling between the two countries are increasing remarkably year by year. According to the official statistics from Russia, 583,000 Chinese tourists visited Russia during the first nine months of this year, up by 63% year-on-year; it is predicted that this figure may grow to 1.3 million by the end of the year. This means one out of five foreign tourists travelling to Russia comes from China.
Complying with this trend, UnionPay International and Russian Federal Agency for Tourism deepen their cooperation to offer quality payment services to tourists from both countries. The main contents of the MOU signed this time include: further improvement of the acceptance environment of UnionPay in Russia, the enhancement of both countries’ service level and security measures in tourism-related fields such as traffic, accommodation and catering, information sharing to facilitate broader cooperation between tourism enterprises and professional associations from both countries, and greater support for the economic and trade exchanges between the two countries.
Ge Huayong said, “With the implement of the Belt and Road strategy, UnionPay has made remarkable progress in Russia. Since the beginning of this year, we have reaching agreements on acquiring and card-issuance with many major local financial institutions, and are landing these programs smoothly. We also put great emphasis on the crossover cooperation. This newly-signed MOU with Russian Federal Agency for Tourism is aimed at enhancing our service level comprehensively. In the future, we will accelerate the provision of innovative payment products and services in Russia, so as to meet the diversified payment needs of UnionPay cardholders.”
Oleg Safonov said, “Payment is crucial to tourism spending. UnionPay card is the indispensable payment tool for outbound Chinese tourists. Promoting the use of UnionPay cards in Russia is an important measure to improve Russia’s tourist service and to attract Chinese tourists. Russian Federal Agency for Tourism is willing to support the expansion of UnionPay in Russia, and to provide Chinese tourists with more convenient tourism payment experience, while supporting the deepening of the relations between Russia and China.”
Currently, UnionPay International has partnered with quite a few major local institutions in Russia in realizing the acceptance of UnionPay cards at 250,000 merchants and 40,000 ATMs, covering almost all shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants, and duty free shops frequently visited by tourists. Additionally, over 300,000 UnionPay cards have been issued in Russia, which are frequently used in about 40 countries and regions including Russia and China. Transaction with these Russia-issued UnionPay cards is especially frequent in border trade areas such as Northeast China and Xinjiang as well as big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.