unionpay international in bosnia and herzegovina

With the number of Chinese tourists coming to Europe increasing each year, hotels and services alike are always working hard to make sure everything goes as planned. This also includes banks and payment providers who are also making sure that the Chinese have their payment methods just as they like it – simple and smooth.

Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Bosnia and Herzegovina enables the usage of UnionPay International cards at the Banks' ATMs in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In December last year, the collaboration between Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Bosnia and Herzegovina and UnionPay International on the acceptance of UPI cards at Banks’ ATMs was formally celebrated by the first transaction at an ATM in Sarajevo made by Yang Shengliang, Deputy General Manager of UnionPay International Europe. 

The launch of the service aims to offer more convenient payment transactions for UPI cardholders visiting or working in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the next phase being the implementation of accepting the same cards on POS devices in stores throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Bank’s official press release.


Yang Shengliang, Deputy General Manager of UnionPay International Europe, Source: Xinhuanet

Support coming from Mercury PSI

On the technical side of this project, we supported our client Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Bosnia and Herzegovina by applying the new configuration to the Bank’s ATMs as well as providing case certification. This in turn enabled UPI cardholders to withdraw cash from the Bank’s ATMs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

With this initiative, Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes the first one in the country to offer the acceptance of cards issued by UnionPay International, which is one of the largest payment processors in China.

Even though the number of tourists doesn’t depend on the payment process, with this initiative the Bank showed their engagement in improving the payment experience of Chinese tourists since they are generally used to a very digital and smooth payment experience.  

A case study of Chinese tourists spending and consumption behaviour

Since 2012, the number of Chinese tourists coming to Europe has been steadily increasing, albeit the small downward trend in 2016 which lasted for just a year. The large number of Chinese tourists came with the rising levels of the nation’s income and especially of the upper middle class. What’s more, travel has become a key indicator of prestige for the growing affluent population of the country.

When it comes to the most popular travel destinations, Europe has been and still is in the 2nd place with Eastern Europe accounting for 36% of the travels to the EU.


Eastern European countries such as Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have seen an average growth rate of 35%  in the first half of 2019. And according to Dragon Trail Interactive, this happened due to a number of new direct flight routes to Europe opening, thus making it more convenient for Chinese tourists to travel to Europe.

Even though most Chinese travellers to Europe are aged 35 to 60, Chinese Millenials are also doing their fair share of travelling but not to Europe. Chinese Millenials see travel as essential to their lifestyle and expressing their personal brand. They travel even more than the older age groups do and even spend 35% of their income on travelling. 

When it comes to their travel itinerary, they are more about seeking experiences than cramming as many travel stops as they can in a week like the older Chinese travellers traditionally do. Chinese Millenials have been immersing themselves into destinations like Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates and taking their time to experience the uniqueness of a place.

It is also important to know that, for Chinese tourists, cost is far less important than the experience.

Millenials are also more about the experience so they too don’t worry about the cost. They mostly spend on tasting exotic local delicacies (69%) and buying authentic local items (43%) rather than shopping for luxury items (38%).

According to Ipsos and research titled “Chinese International Travel Monitor 2018”, the Millennials increased their travel spend dramatically since 2017 - by 73% for those born post 1990s and 50% for those born post 1980s. 

Certainly, the adoption of Chinese brand payment methods in Europe has encouraged spending regardless of the age group and, according to the Nielsen report, Chinese even feel a sense of pride when seeing Chinese brands abroad. Here are some of the tourists' testimonials:

"I feel warm when seeing Alipay and Wechat Pay, things we are familiar with in Chengdu, available overseas. It’s amazing that they offer services overseas."  - Ms. Deng, 32, Chengdu, when seeing Chinese brands abroad. 

"Chinese mobile payments will become more popular. Seeing the logo of Alipay or WeChat Pay and knowing that they are accepted in some stores abroad, we feel very comfortable. I am very proud of Chinese innovation and feel that the world is accepting it." - Ms. Yang, 30, Shanghai