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UnionPay says bank card sector still solid
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China's bank card industry remains solid as it is not challenged by the global financial fallout and China UnionPay Co is on track to build up a global network within three to five years, said the chief executive officer and president of UnionPay yesterday in Shanghai.

The global financial crisis, which started out in the United States, won't change the development of China's bank card industry, Xu Luode told a financial forum in Shanghai yesterday.

Shanghai-based UnionPay will expand its domestic and overseas network to build a global reach within three to five years and hopefully to double its footprint to about 100 countries and regions, Xu told Shanghai Daily. UnionPay has a network in 50 countries and regions, he said.

The US credit card market has seen defaults rising and credit limit being tightened due to the financial woes, Xu said, adding that the bad loan ratio of credit cards rose to 5.39 percent in the US in the second quarter from 3.82 percent a year ago.

The Chinese bank card industry is closely watching the ongoing crisis in the US, but Xu is confident that the turmoil won't shake China's bank card industry.

China's robust economic growth, the government policy to boost usage of bank cards and the domestic industry's development of a nationwide bank card system will support a sound and promising domestic bank card market, Xu said.

According to data, China's bank card sector is dominated by debit cards which account for 92 percent of the total bank cards on the mainland.

(Shanghai Daily October 16, 2008)

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