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Credit Card Giants Eye China
With China's impending WTO entry and the publishing of unified standard of domestic bankcards, two world credit card giants, MasterCard International and VISA International, have speeded up their competition in the Chinese market.

MasterCard has just concluded a promotion activity named "Mystical Man". By June 30 the company had got a global business volume of US$458.8 billion in 22 million business units with over 1 billion card-holders worldwide, according to Feng Weiquan, vice-president of MasterCard and general manager of its China Division.

At an international symposium on credit card development, which was held last September in Beijing, VISA, on its part, announced that its annual sales volume had reached US$2,000 billion in 21,000 member financial institutions, also with 1 billion card-holders worldwide.

As official sponsor of next year's World Cup, MasterCard is prompt to spread its name and enlarge business volume through international sports events. While VISA seizes opportunities from China's successful Olympic bid and, as one of the major sponsors, has extended its profit-earning period of validity by six years.

Both companies have cast their eyes on China's huge market potential, says Beijing Youth Daily. In the "Mystical Man" activity held in Beijing, MasterCard's business volume climbed to 22 million yuan in three months, much higher than the preset target.

While VISA, which issued 11.4 million cards in China last year, never contents itself with existing achievements, the frequent calls, made by Wei Magang, CEO of VISA early last September, on high-ranking government officials and State-owned and commercial bank leaders, should be regarded as a signal of big actions to be taken by the said company.

(People’s Daily October 24, 2001)

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