JOHANNESBURG - Standard Bank and the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have launched the I Go South Africa loyalty programme in partnership with South African Tourism to boost investment flows and encourage tourism between the two countries.

This initiative is part of ICBC’s I Go Global rewards scheme for its card holders in China and was unveiled in Johannesburg on Wednesday. The initiative will capitalise on the growing appetite among Chinese travelers to visit South Africa by offering a range of discounts and special offers from South African merchants across the travel, hospitality and lifestyle sectors, says Standard Bank’s group head of card and emerging payments across Africa in personal and business banking, Lincoln Mali.

“ICBC is the biggest bank in the world, with approximately 139 million credit cards and as many debit card customers,” says Mali, explaining the rationale behind the new loyalty programme, which was designed by Standard Bank in partnership with the Chinese financial institution.

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“Similarly, Standard Bank is the biggest bank in Africa, making this a perfect partnership. Tourism from China has increased drastically over the last few years, and we expect more than 100 000 Chinese tourists in South Africa next year, with an average transaction value of R18 500 each. This spells good news for the South African economy and for Standard Bank’s thousands of merchants.”

 
General Manager of the ICBC banking card department, Mr. Wang Dufu said that to further improve the internationalization strategy of ICBC, they constantly increasing and extending their primary product line abroad.

The ‘I go SA’ campaign combine both China and South Africa advantages as the ICBC credit card holders can enjoy convenient, comfortable and cost effective shopping, traveling and leisure experience. At the same time the campaign of ‘I go China’ attract the Standard Bank cardholders to enjoy the wonderful tourist and shopping experience in China.

I Go South Africa offers a number of benefits specifically for ICBC cardholders travelling to South Africa for leisure. These include up to 21% “cash back” on certain transactions; free Wi-Fi; Card protection insurance; accommodation deals with a premium hotel and restaurant group; and discounted return flights from Hong Kong to South Africa, among many other incentives.

“In many cases, Chinese investment and trade has played an integral part in encouraging economic and infrastructure development in Africa, and in growing trade and investment flows between China and the continent,” says Lincoln Mali. “The partnership between Standard Bank and the Industrial Commercial Bank of China has contributed to moving various African countries forward for many years.”

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE