Chinese tourists have exceeded 50 percent of the total credit card transactions by foreigners in Korea during the first half of this year.
According to the analysis of foreign credit card usage amounts by country for the first half of this year done by Shinhan Card's big data center and the Korea Culture Information Service Agency under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Sept. 14, Chinese tourists accounted for 52.8 percent of the entire usage amount of foreigners for the first time.
The total amount that foreigners spent in Korea was 4.829 trillion won, a 36.2 percent increase from the same period last year. By country, China spent 2.5514 trillion won (US$2.4548 billion, 52.8 percent), Japan 812.4 billion won (US$781.7 million, 16.8 percent) and the U.S. 401.5 billion won (US$386.6 million, 8.3 percent).
The amount Chinese tourists used is even greater than twice of the sum of Japanese and Americans used.
In all tourism-related sectors including shopping, accommodations, and food, Chinese consumption increased 60.4 percent compared to the same period last year, but Japanese decreased 22.0 percent. In the same sectors, the sum of major Southeast Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia (341.3 billion won, US$328.4 million) is greater than Japan (297.3 billion won, US$286.0 million).
In the medical sector, total foreign card usage increased 58.9 percent to 229.4 billion won (US$220.8 million) compared to the same period last year. Chinese consumption grew 87.4 percent to 116.4 billion won (US$112.1 million), and Russian followed behind with a growth of 55.2 percent to 42.6 billion won (US$41.0 million).