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CARDS & PAYMENTS | Cesar Tordesillas, Thailand

Japanese credit card to boost SE Asian presence

JCB International will expand in the Asean and is looking for new partners.

Among the countries the group is focusing on is Thailand because of the relatively low number of its cards in use here.

"The gross domestic product of countries in the region is growing, which is also reflected in their rising percapita income and is why we have to focus on regional expansion," said Kimihisa Imada, deputy president of JCB International.

"Thailand is at the centre of Asean, which can help us expand business in the region," he added.

Imada described KTC as his company's most important partner in Thailand, boosting revenue and arranging attractive promotional campaigns. JCB's Thai sales rose by 15 per cent year on year in the third quarter.

The Japanese company recently formed an alliance with Phonsavanh Bank in Laos, where it is also exploring a new partnership next year.

It also inked a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar Pay-ment Union, which involves more than 20 banks, late last month.

In China, JCB has partnered with nine banks for a total of 6 million cardholders, while in South Korea there are 5 million JCB credit cards, 1.3 million in Taiwan and less than 1 million in Thailand.

The company currently has direct overseas operations in Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia and Singapore.

The Singapore unit is also responsible for Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, where the Bangkok office has management control of activities in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

JCB now has 55,000 cardholders in the Kingdom thanks to the relationship with KTC.

Rathian Srimongkol, president and chief executive officer of KTC, said the two sides would jointly create more marketing campaign throughout next year to attract more customers.

In addition, KTC will seek more local merchants for JCB-KTC card usage, such as Japanese restaurants, fuel stations and supermarkets, to encourage more spending.

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