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Taiwan's Cathay Bank turns 2,500 ATMs, service centers into Pokémon stops

AR phenomenon popular with elderly, bank hopes partnership will encourage physical activity, walks to ATMs

Cathay United Bank ATMs in New Taipei City. 

Cathay United Bank ATMs in New Taipei City.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A leading Taiwanese bank group is turning its ATMs and service centers nationwide into hotspots for players of the world's most popular augmented reality game — Pokémon Go.

On Thursday (April 16), Cathay United Bank (CUB) said the partnership between the bank and affiliated business Cathay Life Insurance (CLI) and Pokémon GO creator Niantic, which saw 2,500 CUB ATMs and CLI service centers around Taiwan being turned into Poké stops and gyms on April 1, has drawn far more traffic than expected, according to the company website.

CUB said the move is the first of its kind in the global banking industry. The insurance company explained this could serve to incentivize its clients to improve their well-being by walking more while at the same time enjoying catching the AR monsters.

"The healthier our clients are, the fewer claims there would be," says a CLI executive. The company cited a report by the San Francisco-based software development company that says its game helped "Pokémon trainers" worldwide save up to NT$600 billion (US$19.96 billion) in medical expenses by being more physically active, walking and running to capture the creatures.

Meanwhile, CLI has launched a new campaign, "Cathay Walker," to drive downloads of a company app that features a fitness tracker to count steps. The new campaign is aimed to expand the company's client pool as customers pay more visits to service outlets, and it will utilize the big data collected from the app to analyze users' behavior.

Nearly four years after its launch, older adults seem to account for a larger share of the smaller number of Pokémon Go players. The most famous dedicated Pokémon trainer in the country is 70-year-old Chen San-yuan (陳三元), who was seen modifying his bicycle to accommodate up to 45 mobile phones in October of last year.

Taiwan's Cathay Bank turns 2,500 ATMs, service centers into Pokémon stops

(Cathay Life Insurance event page screengrab)

Updated : 2022-05-17 11:40 GMT+08:00