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Chinese consumers spend more during Lunar New Year holiday

Updated: Feb 4,2017 7:09 AM     Xinhua

Tourists cram to the Bund during the Spring Festival holiday in Shanghai, East China, Jan 28, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — Chinese consumers spent 462 billion yuan ($67.3 billion) during the Lunar New Year holiday, home and abroad, surging 48.1 percent year on year, data from the country’s biggest payment card issuer showed Feb 3.

According to China UnionPay, card holders made 343 million transactions during Jan 27 to Feb 2, registering a 11.7 percent annual increase.

“Most of the spending went on dinning, shopping, traveling and transport,” said Chen Han, an analyst with the card issuer, which is responsible for all bank card transactions on the Chinese mainland.

Transactions linked to public transport and tourist attractions soared 33.7 percent and 29.1 percent respectively, as more Chinese spent the week-long holiday traveling.

China’s tourism industry collected 423.3 billion yuan of revenue during the Lunar New Year holiday, marking an annual increase of 15.9 percent, official data showed on Feb 2.

More UnionPay card users paid with their smartphones as the volume of transactions through the operator’s contactless payment service increased nearly 21-fold year on year, and password-free payment under 300 yuan surged a whopping 165-fold compared to the same period last year.

The service, which is enabled by techniques including near field communication, allows a consumer to wave a UnionPay card or handset over a reader at a sales terminal to make fast and secure payments.

Meanwhile, cross-border transactions through UnionPay cards maintained growth with a 40-percent increase on the same period last year.

The number of overseas transactions surged in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, the most popular travel destinations for Chinese people.