What percentage of Chinese credit cards own

Eco imageAre “green credit cards” becoming the new status symbol in China?

The online surveys carried out by TNS among Chinese adults in the country's major cities show a clear willingness of the urban population to want to spend more on environmental protection. A total of 76 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement: "I would be willing to pay ten percent more for frequently used products that I consider environmentally friendly."

When asked whether they would also be willing to spend ten percent more on environmentally friendly fuel for their car, 68 percent answered in the affirmative. A total of 71 percent of the participants said that they would pay ten percent more for an environmentally friendly car.

Another result of the survey: Chinese consumers would be willing to give up personal comfort in exchange for benefits for the environment. A total of 69 percent of Chinese consumers said they would accept restrictions on the use of cars, air conditioning and other energy-consuming products, even if this would be associated with personal inconvenience.

Holders of “green credit cards” could document their considerate and socially responsible behavior through such a means of payment. “Green credit cards” - this is another result of the study - could become better known as status symbols in China than gold and platinum cards. The TNS financial market researchers believe that Chinese banks could make better use of the potential of so-called “green credit cards”.

Credit cards are booming in China

An estimated 40 million credit cards are currently in circulation in China. In 2003 it was estimated to be less than three million. Economic growth, rising incomes and the development of organized foreign trade have contributed to this increase. While consumers are not permanently committing to their credit card choice, China's market has already accepted credit cards as a product. By identifying consumers with the importance of the “green credit card”, banks could achieve stronger brand loyalty.

Zhang Hong, Head of Financial Research at TNS China, explains:

“Credit card companies have to differentiate their offer from the competition. But first they have to understand the segmentation of the market and offer products specifically for each segment. This can be done by taking advantage of growing environmental awareness. We believe that 'green' is a new market segment that can be the key to brand loyalty. "

There is a strong trend among urban consumers in China to be environmentally conscious and to buy products that do not harm the environment. Here is the potential for a new status symbol: Just as consumers are willing to pay more to show their success, they are also willing to spend money to emphasize their environmental awareness, according to Zhang Hong.

The Agricultural Bank of China, which works with the China Environmental Protection Union, and HSBC in Hong Kong have launched initiatives related to green credit cards. There is the "Gold Spike Environmental Credit Card" as the first credit card to deal with environmental protection on the Chinese mainland. HSBC has issued Hong Kong’s first green credit card, the Green Credit Card. Cardholders receive their statements in electronic instead of paper form. In addition, the bank donates 0.1 percent of the invoice amount to an environmental initiative of a Hong Kong school.

Sam Thayer, Global Head of TNS Finance, explains:

“Image and social status have always been key criteria for brand loyalty among credit card users. China's credit card users are now ready to spend money on a value proposition that is fully environmentally conscious. Now is the time for banks to be innovative and expand the simple notions of status and class as well as the associated range of gold and platinum credit cards. Our own research shows an excellent market for 'green' credit cards. In China the new gold is green. "

It remains to be seen how much the environment is actually helped by doing without the printed account statement and donating to regional projects - if on the other hand the purpose of every credit card is to consume more. So what and how much Chinese consumers buy now and in the future will be decisive. At least a glimmer of hope that they are also thinking of “environmentally friendly products”.