Belfast Telegraph

Rise in Chinese custom on the cards for jewellers

By Clare Weir

A Northern Ireland jewellers is joining the ranks of Harrods, the Ritz and Selfridges and has become the first retailer here to accept Chinese credit and debit cards.

Lunn's has introduced the China UnionPay terminals in their Victoria Square and Queen's Arcade branches in partnership with Danske Bank to accommodate growing numbers of wealthy Chinese tourists.

As most Chinese cards are not compatible with western chip-and-pin terminals, customers would previously have had to pay in cash and Lunn's managing director John Lunn said that in the past, staff had been forced to turn away business.

Lunn's follows high-end department store Selfridges which was the first retailer in UK to introduce China UnionPay terminals, while world famous Harrods reported a double-digit sales jump after it installed 75 such terminals.

The Ritz hotel in London became one of the first UK hotels to accept these credit cards and reported a 17% increase in Chinese guests.

Mr John Lunn said that he had decided follow the lead of retailers on one of London's swankiest shopping streets and install the machines.

"We had seen a rise in the number of Chinese tourists shopping in our stores and often found that they wanted to pay for items using their UnionPay card rather than use cash," he said.

"However, since we weren't able to accept this method of payment, we were having to turn away valuable business and disappoint some customers.

"We had noticed UnionPay was being accepted in other high-end stores and on Bond Street and realised that we could send a powerful advertisement to Chinese tourists and potentially boost sales by introducing the facility in store.

"Making it easier for customers to pay, however they want to, is an important part of providing an excellent service. This has already proved to be very successful in helping us to cater for our Chinese tourists and we expect this to have a positive impact on their experience of Belfast and our stores as well as on sales."

Geraldine Aiken at Danske Bank added: "China UnionPay is one of the most widely recognised card schemes in the world and Lunn's has set a great example in terms of adapting to the increase in demand from Chinese consumers and to providing the best service they can for their customers.

"We know the importance of the BRIC emerging economies so it's a forward thinking move by Lunn's and a positive one for the tourism industry here."

Belfast Telegraph