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MasterCard sees double-digit growth in China on e-commerce: exec

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MasterCard Inc, the operator of the world's second-largest payments network, reported an 11.1 per cent rise in quarterly profit as purchase volumes rose.

[MANILA] Global payment operator MasterCard Inc sees double-digit annual growth in credit card transaction volumes in China, lifted by the booming e-commerce industry in the world's second-largest economy, a senior executive told Reuters on Monday.

China's plan to open up its domestic transactions market to foreign companies such as MasterCard would be a "game-changer", Ling Hai, co-president for Asia Pacific, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

MasterCard's current business in China is mostly handling cross-border transactions when international travellers come to China or when Chinese cardholders go overseas. The domestic market has long been dominated by state-backed China UnionPay. "That's going to change with China opening up. We will be able to process domestic transactions just like a domestic national player," Ling Hai said, adding that the timeline for this move remains unclear. "If you truly gain full access and get it right, China is a game-changer," he said. "China is the future in terms of consumer market. It will contribute a great deal in terms of spending and volume." Underscoring the potential of China's consumers, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's total value of goods transacted during its Singles' Day shopping festival reached 91.2 billion yuan (S$20.34 billion).

MasterCard has already processed "millions" of transactions for Alibaba and Chinese online payment service Tenpay in the cross-border space, Ling Hai said. "The development of e-commerce is our best friend," he added.

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