UnionPay International, a Shanghai-based subsidiary of China UnionPay, has launched a rewards program with duty free businesses at airports around the world.

UnionPay cardholders will receive discounts at about 80 duty free shops in 70 international airports. Tourism from China has increased as the country's middle and upper classes have rapidly grown, and UnionPay's rewards program is an effort to keep up with the newfound globe-hopping habits of its customers.

"Airport duty free shops are must-visit shopping sites for many during their travel. We wish to provide both domestic and overseas cardholders with better card-using experiences at airports around the world by rolling out the latest privilege program," said UnionPay chief branding officer Dong Li in a March 20 press release.

Duty free shops in Russia, Italy, Qatar, South Africa, Finland, Belgium, and Fiji will participate in UnionPay's rewards program for the first time, the company said.  

Twenty-six million merchants around the world accept UnionPay International cards, according to the company.

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