The UnionPay International (UPI) campaign aims to showcase its international reach and appeal as the preferred card against Visa and Mastercard, which have been established for a longer time and are used more frequently in the high-end shopping category.
The company's performance in Hong Kong and Macau in the past decade has been "staggering", making those markets two of the fastest-growing markets outside mainland China, according to Carlson Li, general manager of UnionPay International's Hong Kong branch. Nearly 15 million UnionPay cards have been issued in these two markets since the payment network launched 10 years ago, from single-currency cards (in renminbi) to dual-currency and tri-currency cards.
The international payment needs of cardholders in Hong Kong and Macau revolve around the areas of traveling, shopping and dining, so the new campaign's theme of ‘enjoy the world your way’ highlights the concept of cardholder choice via television, print, outdoor and online advertisements.
Key scenes of the main TVC were filmed in Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Europe—again, choice destinations of Hong Kong and Macau cardholders, though the scenes of sleeping in a hammock in Taiwan and eating noodles by the roadside in Japan do hint at the company targeting a less high-end market than Visa and Mastercard.
Li said the company has observed changes in spending behaviour. The number of Hong Kong and Macau cardholders using UnionPay cards for overseas spending grew 49 per cent in 2013 over the previous year. "We attribute this to the increasingly mature UnionPay global network and our low handling fee for overseas card transactions," he said.
At the same time, to jack up domestic card spending, UnionPay rolled out a series of promotional offers in popular shopping belts such as Tsimshatsui and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.
At the end of the first quarter of 2014, the number of merchants that accept UnionPay cards, including both ATM cards and credit cards, in Hong Kong and Macau exceeded 110,000 and 4,000, respectively. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for card transaction volume and local cards issuance were 64 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively, for the last 10 years.