The story appears on

Page A4

February 21, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro

Prepaid cards blamed for poor service

LOCALS are complaining that prepaid shopping cards have helped secure such vigorous sales for hypermarkets owned by the Bailian Group that they have led to poor or unfriendly service and high prices.

The Shanghai-based Bailian Group is the biggest retailer in the domestic market and its subordinate companies operate many hypermarket brands across Shanghai, including Century Lianhua and Hualian GMS. Both hypermarket chains accept the Lianhua OK card, issued by the group.

The prepaid Lianhua OK card was once nicknamed "the second version of RMB" by some Chinese media because of its prevalence. The national watchdog has been narrowing down its use since last year by axing stores and e-commerce platforms that can accept it, mainly out of concerns over corruption. The hypermarkets and department stores owned by Bailian thus have become the main channels for people to use their OK cards.

Some consumers attributed the unfriendly service at the hypermarkets, such as the closure of free shuttles and higher prices than competitors, to the card. They argued that the retailer group is under less pressure to attract customers than its rivals.

The OK cards are used widely by state-owned companies to pay off staff, as the prepaid cards help avoid income taxes. The prepaid cards have also turned into a popular form of gifts, creating a hotbed for corruption.

The retailers issuing the prepaid cards are the big winners, benefiting from such popularity that secures them high business revenues from card sales and their use.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend