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Businessman Al-Jawfi Arsalan Hussein Ali from Yemen visited the Yiwu Rural Commercial Bank on March 31 and applied for a new version of the popular Foreign Citizen Card, after filling out and submitting the paperwork.
"I have been doing business in Yiwu for 17 years and I am one of the first group of foreign businessmen to apply for the card. It is very easy to use," he said.
Ali said that the latest Foreign Citizen Card has expanded functions as a bank card, which allows foreign businessmen to make care-free financial payments in Yiwu – the county-level city in East China's Zhejiang province.
The Yemeni businessman rushed to the bank immediately after being told he could apply for the card.
Yiwu reportedly has trade contacts with a total of 233 countries and regions in the world, with about 15,000 foreign businessmen resident in the city each year. In 2016, in a bid to meet their needs for business services, Yiwu issued its Foreign Citizen Card, an innovation in China.
Nowadays, when foreigners buy things in the markets with the card, the sellers can scan the QR code on the card using the Yixingou applet, which instantly verifies the businessman's credit status and enhances mutual trust between the two trading parties.
At present, the Foreign Citizen Card is being used with 15 transaction scenarios involving 12 city departments in Yiwu. For example, in terms of their daily lives, it can be used when they take buses, rent bicycles, borrow books from libraries, make small payments, park in the city and seek medical treatment.
Meanwhile, it helps foreign businessmen apply to register foreign-funded enterprises, put overseas purchases on record, open individual foreign exchange settlement accounts and market credit procurements – smoothing things over for expat businessmen to engage in international trade and other activities in Yiwu.
To date, Yiwu has processed more than 230,000 Foreign Citizen Cards in total, including 38,000 physical ones. "This upgrade increases the financial services function and the business functions of major banks can be realized, to meet the demands of foreign merchants in Yiwu for procurements, remittances and payments," said a senior official in the Yiwu Free Trade Zone.