Saturday, April 21, 2007

China- Does PBT have enough Guanxi?

Charge! Chinese Bulk Up On Cards - HONG KONG -

In Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, they now seem as comfortable paying with plastic as cash.

About 30% of consumer purchases were made with debit and credit cards last year in China’s biggest cities, according to the People’s Bank of China, demonstrating that China’s bank card payment system has reachedthe level of developed countries.

Amid robust economic growth, Chinese consumers doubled card spending in 2006 to 1.9 trillion yuan ($242.3 billion), representing 17% of last year's retail sales of consumer goods, up from 10% in 2005, the central bank said in a report.

Chinese banks issued 1.08 billion debit cards and 50 million credit cards in 2006 .Yet, there’s still a long way to go. Despite a 22% rise in the number of credit cards last year, debit cards still dominated 96% of the market. (I'm sure PBT is fine with those numbers)

I'll have more on this Monday, including who the current leaders in the Chinese payments industry are, how Pay By Touch can utilize their relationship with Win Win Gaming to develop that highly touted "guanxi" ... and what possibilities their strategic partnership with Citigroup might enable.

It's the hottest market out there, but one has to be extremely careful...I remember reading in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that GM's Chinese partner learning from Detroit, is pushing it's own cars and now looms as a new rival. My personal experience with the Chinese, which was relatively extensive back in 1994-95 was pleasant, however they do have a reputation for digging deep for and "borrowing" secrets. So one has to be aware in principal and have the ability to "shen zhong" or be meticulous, careful, protective and aware.

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