BEIJING — China UnionPay, the country’s sole bank card network operator, said on Feb 22 that transactions surged to a record high during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday as card holders went on a spending spree.
The total value of transactions at home and abroad through China UnionPay network soared 47 percent from last year’s holiday to 679 billion yuan (about $107 billion), according to a China UnionPay statement.
Card owners’ spending on shopping and catering increased 43 percent and nearly 50 percent, respectively, while that for entertainment and cultural activities also surged.
Overseas transactions showed marked growth in outbound travels to Belt and Road countries, with payments in Turkey, Morocco and Sri Lanka more than double those of last year’s holiday.
Mobile payments through China UnionPay services went up nearly 150 percent overseas, according to the operator.
It said China UnionPay cards can now be used in 168 countries and regions around the world as more and more Chinese travel abroad.
Over 6.5 million overseas trips were expected to be made by Chinese tourists during this year’s holiday, according to the China Tourism Academy.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese returned to their hometowns or traveled with their families to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
This year’s Lunar New Year holiday ran from Feb 15 to Feb 21.