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Asia-Pacific is the most dynamic market in the world

Telecom and SIM cards, banking through contactless payments and EMV migration, transportation and ID, multiple function cards: CARTES Asia will enable you to reach the key local users and partners all in one shot!

Mobile payment and prepaid cards are becoming popular in the APAC region.

The value of Asian non-cash transaction will have reached $301 trn by 2020, a significant uplift on the $191 trn recorded in 2010; this represents an annual growth rate of 1.3%.

Download the Mobile Payment in Greater China 2014 White Paper by Smart Insights.


The Asia-Pacific region does not constitute a uniform payment market.

The region incorporates countries with well-established payments and cards systems, such as Japan, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong, which boast highly developed payment-related infrastructure that allow the expansion of mobile payments.

The development of cards and mobile payment in China and India is still behind established markets, but offers strong development potential.

Source: VRL Financial News, Cards & Payment in Asia-Pacific



China contains huge potential for payment card growth.

The volume of credit cards in China increased at an average annual growth rate of 24% during 2006-2010, to 230 million in 2010. The rising income levels, the prevention of credit card fraud-related crimes and the government stimulation of card acceptance through interchange fees policy are encouraging the growth of Chinese card payments.

The number of mobile payment users in China reached 145 million by the end of 2011, up by about 60 percent year on year. Of China's current mobile payment services, remote payment is comparatively mature and has rolled out established products such as Alipay Mobile, and the transaction volume an d value of mobile e-commerce are both rising. However, near-field payment develops slower and is mainly promoted by financial institutions a nd telecommunications operators.

China accounted for approximately 13% of all worldwide smart government ID shipments in 2011.

It currently has the largest single national ID project with an installed base of over 900 million. It is also migrating to e-passports and introducing new social security/payment cards, up to 800 million of which will be deployed by 2015.

Source: ABI Research, Deloitte, VRL Financial News

Download the Mobile Payment in Greater China 2013 White Paper by Smart Insights.
Download the Future of Mobile Payment in China, a 2013 White Paper by Maverick China Research.


Hong Kong

Credit Card: The total number of credit cards in circulation in Hong Kong was amounted to 17.0 million by the end of Q2/2012. The figure increased by 1.8% quarter on quarter and rose by 7.0% year on year.  The total number of credit card transactions was 106.4 million for Q2/2012 and the total value of credit card transactions was HK$112.2 billion.

Dual-currency Octopus card: Octopus Cards Limited, together with two partners in China has introduced a dual-currency (HKD-RMB) electronic payment card in the second half of 2012. With Shenzhentong Co., Ltd., the “Hu Tong Xing” (“互通行”) electronic payment card carries the functions of Octopus and ShenZhenTong, and can be used at all designated transport and retail service providers in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. With Guangdong Lingnan Pass Company Limited, "Octopus • Lingnan Pass" was introduced and can be used in sixteen cities in Mainland China. The card contains two separate electronic purses - an Octopus HKD e-purse and a Lingnan Pass RMB e-purse.

By the end of December 2011, there were more than 3,000 Octopus service providers in Hong Kong, including those serviced by Octopus-appointed acquirers. There were 23.1 million cards in circulation, and the average daily transaction volume and value were 11.5 million and $106.6 million.

Development of contactless mobile payment services: There is also growing acceptance of other contactless payment cards, such as Visa PayWave. In June 2012, the number of mobile phone service subscribers was 15.79 million, representing a penetration rate of about 221%. Although development of NFC mobile payment services is still in the early stages globally, given the limited availability of NFC-enabled phones in the market, certain payment service providers are currently exploring the opportunity of delivering NFC mobile payment services in Hong Kong. There is a market expectation of close collaboration among payment service providers, mobile network operators, handset manufacturers and trusted service managers to make such services available to the market in the next 12 - 18 months.

Source: Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Censors and Statistics Department, Octopus Cards Limited



The payment smart card market amounted to 380.6 billion USD in 2010 and 247 million smart cards used, among them 116 million credit cards.

Prepaid cards are increasingly used (6.8 billion cards for 2.17 billion USD in 2012), thanks to retailers initiatives such as Shinsegae or E-mart.

The mobile payment market is increasing, thanks to high penetration rate of 3G terminals (75%), NFC technology mixed with USIM modules, and payment system compatible with LTE technology.

The main application sectors for smart cards in Korea:

  • Banking (payment and credit cards…) : 40 Million USD 
  • Government / Administration (e-passport, ID cards, healthcare): 20 Million USD 
  • Telecom (SIM cards…): 40 Million USD 
  • Transport (contactless, prepaid…): 10 Million USD 



The Smart Card market in Japan is to grow at a CAGR of 18.8 percent over the period 2011-2015. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the growth in adoption in NFC technology. The Smart Card market in Japan has also been witnessing convergence of applications onto a single form factor.

In 2012, the UIM card will replace the B-CAS card system, dating of 2010.

Key vendors dominating this market space include Toshiba Corporation, Sony Corporation, STMicroelectronics, and Samsung Electronics.

Mobile payment applications are developing quickly, such as mobile coupons (33 million users forecasted in 2015), transportation, prepaid and post-paid, etc.

Source: Technavios



The total number of cards circulating in the country was more than 37 million in 2011: 10.2 million debit cards, 8.3 million credit cards and 20 million e-money cards. Singapore has the highest level of credit card ownership in Asia at 3.3 per person.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), around 85 percent of transactions are completed using “e-money” or SVFs and around 7 percent involve other cards, such as credit and debit cards, gift cards and discount cards. The NETS card in payment and the EZ-Link in transportation are very successful. The NETS CashCard is a prepaid smart card used by 800 000 persons for toll road payment, parking, retail, libraries, etc. A new standard for electronic micro-payment has been developed by the Singapore Standard for Contactless e-Purse Application (CEPAS).

The government’s Infocomm Development Agency (IDA) has been promoting innovation in payment card technology and services with the introduction of contactless payments using mobile phone, based upon near-field communication technology (NFC). A consortium of 7 companies (Gemalto, Citibank, DBS bank, EZ-Link, M1, SingTel and StarHub) is in charge of interoperability of NFC services.

Launched in 2011, the Flexi Immigration Clearance System project is the first of its kind in Singapore and will allow the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to toggle between automated and manned immigration counters. Instead of being screened by immigration personnel, travellers at Singapore's checkpoints could be cleared in future by a facial recognition biometric system - which will allow entry into the country at record time.
Source: Bank for International Settlement, KPMG

Download the SINGAPORE COUNTRY REPORT by C&M Publications



The smart card market in Taiwan is worth NT$ 40 billion.

The Taiwanese payment system will be developed through new models of credit and prepaid cards, and multi-functional cards that combine ATM, credit, debit and prepaid functions.

The Taiwanese mobile payment market is also expected to grow strongly, to reach $15.6 billion by 2015.



Total number of smart cards in Thailand reached 69.3 million in 2010, among them credit cards reached 14.1 million – of which 5.3 million were issued by Thai-owned banks. Debit cards reached 34 million and ATM cards 20.9 million. 80% of cards in circulation are now compliant with EMV standard.

Thailand saw strong growth in credit card spending in 2011: the number of debit card transactions increased of 91% in 2011 and credit card transactions recorded an annual growth rate of 16%.

Debit and credit cards are moslty used for ATM withdrawal. Thai Smart Card, a joint venture involving the country’s largest convenience store chain Seven Eleven and bank partners, issued the Smart Purse contactless prepaid card in 2005 to promote e-payments at retailers.

Smart IDs have been rolled out since 2004 and children over 7 year old are now required to carry a smart ID (9 million cards should be rolled out).

Source: Bank of Thailand, Kresearch,  « Thailand country report » Card World



The Indian smart card market should reach 1.2 billion units by the end of 2012 at a CAGR of over 20%.

With a population of more than one billion, India is among the world’s fastest growing smart card markets; though smart card use in India lags behind Japan and China.

Source: RNCOS



Australia is developing into a huge potential market for smart card industry players. In Australia, most government projects are currently in the early stages of development while others are still in the planning or piloting stages of implementations.

Australia contains one the most mature payment car markets in the APAC region, with just over 60 million cards circulating in 2010.

In the public sector, the country has been working in its e-passport authentication system project “SmartGate”. The system is expected to be rolled-out nationwide in the next few years. This would lead to growing demand for smart card chips in Australia. The government has also planned to replace the current laminated license with a “smart card” that will have a digital photograph and signature and store information in a computer chip.

In the telecommunications sector, mobile operators in association with banks are trialing contactless mobile payment services in Australia. 

And at least, in the healthcare sector, the Australian government is all set to swap the magnetic stripe Medicare card with a smart card. Healthcare providers will need new card readers, as well as access to a secure Internet messaging system.

Sources: RNCOS, KPMG, VRL Financial News



More than half of the population have a credit card and prepaid cards are also very popular. The value of credit card transaction amounted to 79,810 RM million in 2010.

Mobile payment had a penetration rate of 4.5% in December 2011 and around 20 solutions are currently on the market (such as Maxis FastTap or Mobile Money).

Malaysia was one of the first countries in the world to use biometric passport and also NFC payment.

MyKad card was issued in 1999 by the government to replace multiple cards (driver licence, passport, bank card) with one single card. Smart cards were issued to more than 19 million citizens. MyKad incorporates PKI digital signatures to ensure security of e-commerce transactions and contains around 30 applications.

Transportation cards such as Touch-n-Go or RapidKL are also used in retail and used by more than 9.2 million persons.



The number of debit cards in Indonesia increased at an annual growth rate of 22%, from 48.9 million in December 2010 to almost 60 million in December 2011.

Indonesian credit card transactions valued 20.4 billion in December 2011, after recording an annual growth rate of 11.9%, but the market penetration of qualified credit card holders is only 4.5%.

The implementation of chip card technology is required by Bank Indonesia, and it has made it mandatory for the banks in the country to convert credit cards to EMV compliance within 4 years.

Source: Indonesian Central Bank, VRL Financial News



With a population of over 87 million, Vietnam’s economy is one of the strongest in the Asia-Pacific region. Even though Vietnam remains a vastly under penetrated financial services market, economic growth is boosting the numbers of people gaining access to bank accounts and other forms of financial services.

The card payments is the segment which have enjoyed the most important growth over the past few years, helped by an influx of large foreign banks which have recognised the potential Vietnam has to offer. From the launch of the 1st bank card in Vietnam in 1996, the market reached 28, 5 million cards (with the vast majority being debit and ATM cards) by the end of 2010, with more than 11 000 ATMs and nearly 50 000 POS acceptance devices installed.

Two major issues are still acting as stumbling blocks in the way of further card usage growth: the interoperability between Vietnam’s different banks and their respective ATM networks, and fees that 50% of Vietnamese banks are charging for purchases made with credit and debit cards (compared to 10% in Cambodia).

Expanding access is the key priority for Vietnam’s banking industry; in the meantime the payment card industry in Vietnam will continue to be one of the world’s most rapidly growing markets. Research firm RNCOS says it expects it to grow at CAGR of about 20% during 2010 – 2013. Debit cards with domestic acceptance will continue dominating the market.

Source: Payment Cards & Mobile, January/February 2011