Chinese visitors need a visa to travel to London, but they no longer need a Visa card to shop in Harrods. The world-famous department store in Knightsbridge has now installed terminals that accept Chinese UnionPay credit cards, reports the Financial Times. Since the machines were put in earlier this year, sales to Chinese tourists have increased 40%, with the average spend hitting £3,500 per person. The FT says that a Chinese shopper even used a UnionPay card to buy a £140,000 diamond from the upmarket store. The lesson is plain: if Western retailers want to get more Chinese cash, installing UnionPay terminals look like a smart move, as shoppers can use their China-issued credit cards.
Meanwhile the British press has coined a new phrase for the phenomenon of Chinese shoppers in London: the ‘Peking Pound’. China Daily notes that the London Luxury Quarter (a shopping district stretching from Bond Street to Savile Row) expects the Chinese to spend £260 million in its shops this year (a 30% rise).
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