When I lived and worked in China, I found it convenient if not necessary to own debit account at the local bank to get my salary. However, even after I quit my job I maintained Chinese bank account as I found it invaluable, since I still run some business with Chinese partners. That’s way my transactions go through Chinese bank account and I just make a withdrawal on other part of the world, when they transfer money to my bank account.
So, when we make a deal, they pay me on my Chinese bank account, instead of transferring money to the bank in my home country. That way I maintain secrecy, privacy and have lower costs getting my money, since we avoid paying fees for international transactions. Only thing I do is withdraw money from the ATM.
Chinese UnionPay (CUP) is becoming increasingly recognized around the world and alternative to other cards. It is a great way to internationalize and store some money away from reach of your government. UnionPay cards can be used in 141 countries around the world and it is the 3rd biggest system in the world, right after Visa and MasterCard.
If you are doing business with Chinese, it is highly convenient to own a local bank account in China. Instead of payments Chinese bank to your local bank in home country, Chinese partner can just transfer funds to your Chinese bank account and you make a withdrawal with your Chinese debit card. ATM fees are extremely low and it is cheaper than sending money overseas through bank.
Another benefit is if you work in China you can make only limited money exchange per day, around 500€ or around 600$. So if you want exchange larger amount of money, you have to do this day after another. But if you own UnionPay card, you can send it to your family member or friend overseas and he/she can make large withdrawals in foreign currency, thus legally avoid daily exchange limits.
A great benefit is also if you can get UnionPay/MasterCard or UnionPay/Visa card, like the one pictured above, since it combines the best of both worlds. You can use this card just about anywhere in the world and it is extremely convenient. Obtaining UnionPay card is a great way of diversification your card options and put some money away to offshore.
Best is to go with smaller Chinese or Hong Kong bank, which has no branches abroad and no other connections to your home country. One of the best I found out is Chinese Merchants Bank in Mainland China. You can also use your UnionPay card in combination with AliPay account, which is Chinese alternative to PayPal.
As you can see, there are many benefits, why owning Chinese UnionPay card is a good idea. Only thing is that you will need to make a trip to Mainland China or Hong Kong to open account. But once you have it setup it is convenient to use your money through alternative system, like you are used to.