AMERICAN EXPRESS GOES 'COMMERCIAL' ON CHINA

AMERICAN EXPRESS GOES 'COMMERCIAL' ON CHINA

American Express Co., which claims two-thirds of the international credit- card market in China, will syndicate its own television show to woo more U.S. tourists to the country.

About 310,000 Americans visited China last year, a contingent that ranks only behind the Japanese in size.Those Americans and other visitors charged on American Express cards amounted to $200 million last year, said Simpson Chua, vice president and general manager of American Express travel-related services in China.

Volume was 20 percent and 25 percent higher than in 1986, said Linjun Jia, the company's resident director.

American Express competes with six other international credit cards in China, including MasterCard and Visa. Mr. Chua, relying on Bank of China statistics, said American Express has 65 percent of the total international credit-card trade in China.

He also said American Express contributed 12 percent of the $1.8 billion in tourism receipts compiled for last year by China's national tourism administration.

Income from last year's 26.9 million tourists grew 20 percent over 1986, according to official figures.

Mr. Chua said he hopes the planned one-hour TV show will dispel some of the misconceptions about China, though didn't suggest what those might be.

He describes the show as a documentary. In reality, it features selected subjects and interviews - approved by the Chinese government - designed to show China in the best light.

Mr. Chua refused to reveal how much American Express will pay for producing and syndicating the film. It was not immediately known when and where the program would be telecast.