UnionPay, a Chinese payment system operated by the People’s Bank of China, have described the Irish as “kind and simple” on their website.
“The Irish are kind and simple, ready to help others. They like outdoor activities, including climbing, golf, navigation, walking and travelling. It is a common way of entertainment that they gather and talk in a bar or at home,” reads the website of the company which dominates the credit card system in China.
The article, offering advice for Chinese travelers to Ireland, describes Dublin as “a renowned tourist city in Europe.”
“The official languages are Irish and English. Ninety-four per cent of its residents are Catholics, the rest being Christians and Protestants,” it says.
“Most country areas of Ireland still maintain their natural sceneries undestroyed so they have become ideal habitats for thrifty vegetations and all kinds of animals and birds.”
The Irish Times reports that banks in China issue Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards, and payments are processed through their foreign currency networks, but they are not widely accepted. Instead, Chinese cardholders use them mainly for foreign travel.
However, UnionPay’s days of domination may be limited after a complaint made in 2012 by the United States to the World Trade Organization that China unfairly discriminates against foreign payment processors.
Global operators such as Visa and MasterCard are now able to apply for licenses to clear domestic Chinese payments.
According to the Irish Times, businesses that accept UnionPay have the advantage in wooing Chinese tourists. A Tourism Ireland survey of 1,000 Chinese adults showed that acceptance of Chinese bank cards was named by 81 percent as a key factor in destination choice.
Several retail outlets in Ireland, such as Brown Thomas and Kildare Village, accept UnionPay, and in 2014, AIB Merchant Services became the first Irish merchant acquirer to add UnionPay to its list of available card schemes, signing a deal with UnionPay International to provide Irish businesses with the ability to accept transactions made using UnionPay debit and credit cards.