Chinese tourists no long need to bring a large amount of US dollars when traveling in South Korea, as they can choose to use China UnionPay, or even Renminbi in cash in some stores.
“The store I just passed by offers a 5% discount for China UnionPay users. Some stores in Seoul even accept the RMB in cash,” a Chinese tourist surnamed Xiao told Xinhua.
For Chinese tourists, it is more convenient for them to use China UnionPay and cash, or they have to spend much more time on finding currency exchange booths and deciding on a favorable price.
“I find China’s Renminbi is highly recognized in Seoul,” Xiao said.
China is the first source of tourists for South Korea. The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea reached 1 million in 2008 compared with around 710,000 in 2005. From January to May this year, the number exceeded 2 million. A shop owner at Seoul’s Myeong-dong commercial district told Xinhua that he noticed the increasing number of Chinese tourists and it was impossible not to accept China UnionPay.
China UnionPay entered South Korea in 2005, and nearly all South Korean stores accept it, said Sheng Jinchun, China UnionPay’s representative in South Korea. Tourists can book hotels, shopping and sightseeing with China UnionPay cards, and they can also withdraw cash from more than half of the ATMs in South Korea. During the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, they can even pay for taxis with the cards, Sheng said.
Chinese tourists can also easily find exchange booths in Myeong-dong and other commercial districts. Some shopping malls even accept Renminbi in cash. South Korean banks have also witnessed a large amount of Renminbi deposits since the second half of last year, with the total volume reaching US$11.3 billion at the end of May. South Korea expressed its intent in April to build up Renminbi offshore trading markets. With the increasing internationalization of the Chinese currency and the deepening of bilateral financial cooperation, the Renminbi fervor in South Korea will continue.