Chinese-led growth on the cards for DJs

David Jones has joined a long list of luxury goods shops turning to cashed-up Chinese shoppers for growth, and has started to accept cards from China's UnionPay - the world's largest issuer of bank cards.

David Jones has joined a long list of luxury goods shops turning to cashed-up Chinese shoppers for growth, and has started to accept cards from China's UnionPay - the world's largest issuer of bank cards.

More than 700,000 UnionPay card users visited Australia last year, spending billions on goods and services.

China UnionPay chairman Su Ning said he expected the value of card transactions in Australia to double this year, reaching 4.6 billion yuan $770 million).

"The total value of UnionPay card transactions increased 45 per cent in the first four months of this year and we expect it to double at the end of the year," Mr Su said.

He said only 12 per cent of Australian businesses accepted UnionPay cards but expected that figure to increase to 40 per cent, now that the Commonwealth Bank had come on board.

Tourism Australia says Chinese visitors spent about $4.2 billion here last year, up 12 per cent on 2011 figures.

It is believed 10 per cent of David Jones' sales staff speak Mandarin and a significant portion of its luxury goods revenue comes from Chinese tourists. The retailer plans to hire more Mandarin-speaking staff to cater to the increasing number of Chinese shoppers.

Commonwealth Bank has signed an agreement to allow UnionPay users to access the bank's ATMs and merchants.

Ian Saines, a Commonwealth Bank executive, said the acceptance of UnionPay cards presented opportunities for retailers.

"Experience in other markets has shown ... accepting UnionPay does drive a noticeable increase in sales - that is why David Jones is so excited," he said.

Luxury British retailer Harrods registered a 40 per cent rise in sales to Chinese tourists in the first quarter of 2011, boosted by the installation of UnionPay terminals.

NAB launched an advertising campaign recently spruiking its partnership with UnionPay in an effort to cash in on its soon-to-end monopoly relationship with the Chinese company.

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