Paying Chinese Businesses in Dollars Instead of Chinese Yuan
Costs American Businesses $2.4 Billion in 2011
Western Union Survey Finds One in Five Chinese Exporters Add Fees To Account for Foreign Exchange Risk
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Feb. 27, 2012 - Western Union Business Solutions, a business unit of the Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services, today announced results of a survey of Chinese companies which found that by settling transactions with Chinese exporters in U.S. dollars (USD) instead of Chinese yuan (CNY) American businesses paid approximately $2.4 billion in fees to account for foreign exchange risk.
"The U.S. is the number one export destination for companies based in China," said Alfred Nader, Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Development at Western Union Business Solutions. "To date, the vast majority of transactions between companies based in the U.S. and China have been settled in U.S. dollars. It is time to take a step back and evaluate to what extent it makes sense for American companies to continue to pay Chinese exporters in something other than their preferred local currency."
Western Union Business Solutions' survey of more than 1,000 Chinese companies who are able to settle merchandise exports in CNY (known as mainland designated enterprises, or MDEs) reveals a desire in China to receive payments in their home currency. The results show that more than one third (36%) would prefer to be paid in CNY, with over 20% naming exporter convenience and reduced foreign exchange risk as the main drivers for that preference.
Despite this appetite, however, 42% of those who would prefer to receive payments in CNY never ask their overseas trading partners to pay in yuan due to perceived buyer reluctance. Companies in China largely attributed this reluctance to inconvenience (33%) and the seemingly difficult process experienced by partners in obtaining CNY for payment purposes (20%).
To account for the foreign exchange risk associated with settling in currencies other than CNY, one in five companies surveyed said they add fees of, on average, 3% of the total transaction cost.
"Chinese exporters would prefer that their trading partners pay in yuan, but most are afraid to ask because they think they will be rebuffed," said Mr. Nader. "There are easy and inexpensive ways for companies in the U.S. to settle transactions without using USD, which could generate increased goodwill and loyalty among their Chinese trading partners, not to mention cut the cost of doing business."
Another key finding of the survey is that companies in the U.S. are seen as far more unwilling to settle in CNY than those based in Europe. In fact, the U.S. was named as the most reluctant market (42%) with Europe (23%) and South East Asia (13%) placing second and third. Japan (8%) and Australia (2%) were seen as the least reluctant.
"Importers that are flexible and savvy in their approach to cross-border payments will find themselves well-placed to compete in today's global marketplace," added Mr. Nader. "Adapting to the ongoing liberalization of the CNY is especially significant when one considers the growth opportunities that exist for companies that do business with China. The goodwill and supplier loyalty that would be created by American companies who offer to pay in yuan present a real opportunity for them to gain a competitive advantage when trading with the world's second largest economy."
For more information or interviews please contact:
212.279.3115 x 203
For more information about Western Union please contact:
Notes to Editors:
About Western Union Business Solutions
Western Union Business Solutions enables companies of all sizes to send and receive international payments and manage foreign exchange, creating unique solutions tailored to suit their FX needs. Western Union recently acquired Travelex Global Business Payments and is a leading nonbank provider of business payments, operating its Business Solutions services through locally licensed affiliates in 23 countries. Supported by a network of trading offices, strategic banking relationships and a global clearing network, businesses can send cross-border payments in more than 140 currencies, including RMB. Western Union Business Solutions provides services in the US through Custom House (USA) Limited and Travelex Global Business Payments, Inc.
"Travelex" is a registered trademark of Travellers Exchange Corporation Limited and is used by Travelex Global Business Payments Limited and its affiliates (including Travelex Global Business Payments Inc.) under license.
For more information visit http://business.westernunion.com/.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of December 31, 2011, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 485,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2011, The Western Union Company completed 226 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $81 billion of principal between consumers, and 425 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
 Western Union Business Solutions’ research found that one in five Chinese exporters added an average of three per cent in fees or surcharges to account for FX risk associated with receiving $USD payments. Based on the U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2011, there was $399 billion worth of merchandise imports from China into the United States. On this basis the value of FX related fees charged by Chinese exporters is approximately $2.4 billion, or three per cent of the value of one-fifth of the United States’ total imports from China.