Report Predicts Major Growth for China’s Smart Payments and Banking Cards Market

Annual volumes of smart payment and banking cards shipped in China are forecast to increase to around 1.5bn units in 2018, up from 207.7m in 2013, according to a new report from IHS Electronics & Media (part of global information and insight provider HIS).

“The relative importance of China for smart payment and banking cards is projected to increase significantly during the next five years,” said Don Tait, senior financial and ID market analyst at IHS.

“The Chinese market for smart payment and banking cards is currently experiencing an explosion in growth in terms of the number of cards that are being shipped. Banks and financial institutions in that vast East Asian country are gearing up to the 2015 deadline for all new issued cards to be smart-card compliant.”

The report highlights the distinction between smart payment as well as banking cards that are being issued by banks from the Chinese social security cards that have a payment function. Because it is easy to lump both types of cards under one heading, the true size of the market for smart payment and banking cards could be easily distorted.

The smart payment and banking cards that are being shipped are predominantly of a dual interface nature. In contrast, Chinese social security cards are contact-based cards. Furthermore, the latter is supported by the government, while pure payment and banking cards are supported by banks and carry the same type of metrics used by banks globally.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has targeted approximately 800m smart payment and banking cards to be in circulation by 2015 and early indications project that this target will be exceeded. Once a critical mass of smart payment and banking cards has been deployed onto the market, expectations are that consumers will increasingly request the cards for their added security benefits, compared to traditional magnetic stripe cards.

China is also a critical market in which smart card and integrated circuit (IC) suppliers can be involved. Card suppliers like KONA I and Gemalto, as well as IC suppliers such as NXP Semiconductors and Infineon, have been taking advantage of the burgeoning market. Being early entrants into the Chinese payment and banking market has helped these companies increase volume shipments and market shares.

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