When the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games open Aug. 8, athletes will compete on the track, in the pool, in the boxing ring and elsewhere for gold medals.
Meanwhile, competition of another sort will unfold outside the sports venues as ATM deployers vie to provide âthe goldâ in the form of Chinese bank notes for an estimated 500,000 foreign visitors to fill their wallets and pocketbooks while attending the games and touring one of the worldâs largest cities.
ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. and Visa Inc., a worldwide partner of the games, are installing ATMs in and around the Olympic venues to provide cash for tourists.
This competition, however, is somewhat muted because Diebold and Visa have hired Bank of China, Chinaâs second-largest bank based on assets, to deploy the ATMs, which only will dispense the yuan, Chinaâs currency.
Visa is deploying 26 ATM kiosks at competition and non-competition venues, including the Olympics Press Center, International Broadcasting Center and Green Home Media Village, the card brand says.
The ATMs are housed in curved structures Visa public-relations officials call a kiosks although the ATMs provide only cash withdrawals and possibly balance inquiries.
The structures housing the ATMs are inspired by Chinese culture and calligraphy, Richard Chang, Visa executive vice president and general manager for Greater China and the Philippines, said in a statement.
The kiosksâ artwork relies on blue-and-white brush strokes and traditional signature seal designs from Chinese porcelain vases.
âWe wanted to showcase our partnership with the Olympic Games in Beijing in an appealing way to visitors,â Chang says. Through partnerships with various Chinese banks, Visa has installed more than 90,000 ATMs in China, the payments company says.
On the other hand, Diebold eschewed glamour and installed its ATMs in more traditional through-the-wall locations.
Diebold, the worldâs second-largest ATM manufacturer based on machines shipped in 2007, said Bank of China will install 30 or more Opteva ATMs at the Olympic and media villages in Beijing and Qingdao.
The Optevas provide prompts in Chinese, English and French, but the machines only dispense the yuan, says Daniel Hu, Diebold vice president and managing director for North Asia and China.
Diebold says it is the exclusive ATM provider in key Beijing Olympic facilities. As a result the manufacturer anticipates that before the games end Aug. 24, the ATMs that provide cash and balance inquiries will get a lot of use.
The Olympic villages house up to 12,000 athletes, 8,000 coaches and 5,000 to 30,000 registered and non-registered reporters, Diebold wrote in an e-mail statement.
âTo respond effectively to increased traffic flow to and from the ATM sites, Diebold is placing appropriate components and parts in warehouses ahead of schedule to ensure their supply and use during the Beijing Olympic Games,â Diebold said in a statement.
Diebold has worked with Bank of China on other ventures.
In 2006, Bank of China purchased 300 additional bulk cash recycling ATMs from Diebold. At the time, the North Canton, Ohio-based ATM manufacturer, had sold 1,000 ATMs to the Bank of China.
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