This text is translated into Russian by google automatic human level neural machine.
EastRussia is not responsible for any mistakes in the translated text. Sorry for the inconvinience.
Please refer to the text in Russian as a source.

Yuan on both sides of the border

How Asian and Russian tourists are calculated in Chinese currency in the Far East

Today, Russian tourists traveling to China do not really care how much the yuan costs: most of them are seeking not for cheap things, but for high-quality rest. That is why the demand for Chinese currency in the Far Eastern cities increases. At the same time, due to exchange rate fluctuations, trips to Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk to Chinese neighbors became profitable. How to grow in the Far East, the calculations in yuan and turnovers on the cards of Chinese payment systems, EastRussia found out.

Yuan on both sides of the border


For several years, the Bank of China has been trying to contain the growth of the national currency at the level of 6-7 yuan per US dollar, and Fed officials have repeatedly stated that the yuan is undervalued. As the head of the Primorye Bank treasury, Andrei Zverev, periodically, the People's Bank of China weakens the yuan rate, but, as a rule, it does not have a strong effect on the yuan / ruble rate. Under current conditions, it is necessary to note the significant role of the other currency pair - “dollar-ruble”, the volatility of which directly determines the value of the yuan-ruble rate. 

According to EastRussia experts, Far Easterners have adapted to the new course. So,

Last year, in the Primorsky Branch of Sberbank, customers purchased yuan by 29% more than in 2017. On Sakhalin and in the Amur region - more by 11-11,4%. In the Khabarovsk Territory, the purchase of RMB cash increased by 13%. In the bank "Primorye" also state the growth of the volume of sold yuan by 20%. 

At the same time, the low exchange rate of the ruble against the yuan attracted a large number of tourists from China to the Far East. And here Primorye remains the leader. Last year, about 422 thousands of people from this country entered the region (figures remained at the level of 2017 of the year). This is largely due to the presence of a large number of land checkpoints and a large hub - the airport of Vladivostok, since tourists are then sent to Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

A rather modest, but significant, was the growth in the flow of Chinese tourists in the Khabarovsk Territory, which 2018 thou- sands from China accepted as 25,5 for the year. According to the Ministry of Economic Development and External Relations of the Amur Region, last year the total flow of tourists between Russia and China in the region reached 118 thousand people (by 8,1% more than in 2017 year.). 

Note that these figures do not take into account the flight between Fuyuan and Khabarovsk, as well as the movement between the two states through the Amur on boats of the "Meteor" or "Puma" type in the summer, since private persons are involved in this. 


Information from the Far Eastern Customs confirms, on the one hand, that Russian tourists have not stopped visiting China, using a rather budgetary way - bus tours. On the other hand, the increase in traffic also shows that a large number of Chinese guests are returning to their homes. 

According to the DVTU, in the 2018 year, only from Primorye, to China, 22783 went to regular buses (a twofold increase compared to the 2014 year). In general, over the past year, the shipments by irregular flights to China from the Primorsky Territory became more active. Compared to 2014 year, they have increased by 13,09%, i.e. 3848 buses crossed the customs border of Russia towards the neighboring country. 

On the contrary, in the Amur region, irregular bus flights to China have become less frequent, just 2263 over the past year (a drop of almost 70% compared to 2014 year). 646 made such flights from Khabarovsk Krai to China. In 2018, the number of irregular passenger buses from the Jewish Autonomous Region to China decreased by almost 34%, only 1373 buses crossed the customs zone of the Russian Federation, heading from the Jewish Autonomous Region. 

According to Denis Orlovsky, Deputy Director of Primoravtotrans Travel Company, Russian tourists are still going to China via border checkpoints, but today they often choose Hunchun and Inzi as transit cities, from where they go on high-speed trains to Harbin, Beijing, Dalian , Boydahe. By the way, these are the areas that the Far East chooses for summer travel. A tour by bus to transport Chinese “hubs” allows them to save money. 


Favorite shopping cities are also alive: Mishan, Suifenhe (“Sunka”), Heihe, the village of Fuyuan (also known as “Funka”) bordering Khabarovsk. However, today they are increasingly focused on domestic tourism. Far East there are not so private guests. Trade, which was focused on Russian tourists in the border areas of China, has practically died, says one of the private visitors to cities in the northern provinces of the PRC. All the iconic places for our tourists in Suifenhe - the Maxim restaurant, which was made only for Russians, all the brand shops - Lakosmo, Adidas, Chinese twin brands - do not work. The “four-storey building”, known to many, also rested in the Bose: there, at best, the first floor works. 

According to a member of the board of the Khabarovsk regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society, Alexander Leonkin, oddly enough, for Russian tourists from Khabarovsk in Fuyuan, oddly enough, the “Olya photo” photo salon, where you could take pictures in historical costumes, was once included in the category As a result, business owners transferred it to a free economic zone on the border with Kazakhstan. 

The famous restaurant "Max", which was popular with the Russians, reoriented itself to domestic Chinese tourists, since the infrastructure created once for Russians exists. Own speaking, and Fuyuan itself is served for the Chinese as the most eastern point on the northern border of China. They come to look at the Russian shores of Khabarovsk. In the meantime, the so-called Russian shops for Chinese in Fuyuan are full of fake Russian brands, it is quite possible to buy a Russian stew of the allegedly Blagoveshchensky Meat Meat Factory or Russia Food Products sweets. 

Tatyana Pyatygina from Blagoveshchensk says that many retail outlets and cafes, favorite by Russian tourists, for example, the Ostrov shopping center not far from Chinese customs and cafés were closed in Heihe. Many Chinese baths were closed, the range of services in which cost 30 yuan. 

Irina Voroshilova says that in large supermarkets, including such a well-known “Huafu”, there were no departments with European brands that were aimed at the Russian buyer, and most often strange quality goods are sold there — a sort of hello to all of us from 90- x 

We must pay tribute, Chinese businessmen promptly respond to the needs of the market. For domestic tourists in Heihe, Russian shops with Russian-made goods are opened, a delivery point in China is also available by mail. Heihe's former habitues do not argue, the city remains as cozy and clean, but Russian tourists still lack the welcoming atmosphere and the tables in their favorite cafes a la “U Pasha”, “U Sasha”. 


The payment industry in the neighboring cities of China begins and ends with "cash". But if earlier, near the iconic places in Suifenhe, Fuyuan and Heihe, there were literally hundreds of “money changers” ready to exchange rubles or dollars for the yuan, today there are only one or two people at major centers. As for the Chinese payment system Union Pay, then most often in the border cities it operates in stores only for the Chinese: they sold Russians and try to sell goods for cash. The Far East, on the contrary, is waiting for Chinese tourists, offering a civilized payment infrastructure. 

The head of VTB in Primorsky Krai, Alexander Vyalkov, says that since 2017, the bank has been accepting China Union Pay cards in its ATM and POS-terminal networks. And today, according to the VTB press service, the statistics are as follows: since the beginning of 2018, the turnover on these cards in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories has exceeded 200 million rubles. 

It is curious that at the end of last year, the credit organization also launched the first Alipay acquiring in the Far East. The service has already connected the Nevada Group retail chains, the RazDva minimarkets, as well as the Sambury hypermarkets, which are presented in the Khabarovsk, Primorsky, Kamchatka Territories, Amur and Jewish Autonomous Regions. As explained in the trading network "Sambury", this service is most often used by Chinese tourists, and the number of operations in the system is growing. 

In July of this year, you can pay off with a Huawei Pay smart phone for China Union Pay card holders and a Huawei or Honor mobile phone at sales and service outlets where you installed VTB terminals. 

Currently, 100% of Sberbank terminals and self-service devices in the Far East are served by Union Pay cards. As noted in the credit institution, the main volume of operations with Union Pay cards in Russia is formed by tourists coming from the PRC and other APR countries. For example, over the 2018 year, more than 218 thousand transactions were conducted through the terminals of the Far Eastern Sberbank. The most actively paid with these cards in the Primorsky, Khabarovsk Territories and the Amur Region. Union Pay cards are paid mainly in the hotel and tourism industry, in shops selling products, luxury goods, precious jewelery and clothing, as well as in consumer electronics stores. 

In May 2017 of the year, the Bank Primorye started issuing a Union Pay card. Far Easterners use Union Pay directly and at home in the payment system. According to Dmitry Tsvirkun, Head of the Primorye Bank Transactional Business Department, the most popular cities in the People's Republic of China among clients for paying for goods and services with such cards are Mudyanjiang, Dalian, Shenzhen and Harbin. Whereas in Suifenhe and Heihe cash is predominant in the calculations, this is evident from the amount of cash withdrawals at ATMs of these cities. In general, the overall growth of non-cash payments in China using Union Pay bank cards over the past year has increased significantly by 75% compared to 2017 year. For several years now, the bank has been able to withdraw cash and pay with a card from the Chinese payment system at its ATMs and at the terminal network of Primorye and the Khabarovsk Territory. 

One of the founders of the Russian souvenir shop “VladGifts” in Vladivostok believes that foreigners come to Russian cities in the Far East to eat, get impressions. Thus, compared with the situation before 2014, everything changed exactly the opposite. And if the Chinese, one way or another, have places on their territory for such a pastime, then the tourists from South Korea are a new European city in Asia. They are the welcome guests of shops, restaurants and hotels. 

At the same time, for example, budget travelers from China to Heilongjiang travel most often to Vladivostok, but they don’t give a good check. Large profits can be obtained from Korean travelers. They come for European exoticism, they themselves are looking for interesting individual excursion programs, they visit the Vladivostok fortress, they are associated with digger clubs.

September 22: current information on coronavirus in the Far East
Digest of regional events and latest statistics