June 2007

The Golden Card

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Golden Card projects started for immediate implementation with the positive efforts from the State Council and the relevant ministries, targeting to select 12 cities as pilot cities to set up the bankcard network service centers in these cities and establish one national center.

1986 saw the first bankcard issued in China by Bank of China, that was Great Wall Credit Card of RMB. Thereafter the bankcards came into the daily life of the general public, but there were a few bankcard issuers, and there were limits for applicants. The card acceptance situation was not as good as we have now. Not until June 1993, the Golden Card Projects were launched by Jian Zhemin, the former president of China.

The main focus of promoting bankcard has been put on agenda. In fact, golden card projects started for immediate implementation with the positive efforts from the state council and the relevant ministries, targeting to select 12 cities as pilot cities to set up the bankcard network service centers in these cities and establish one national center. This aims to achieve the interoperable operations and transactions between bankcard networks for the 12 cities in order to improve the acceptance of cards and sharing of information, data and market. By 1996 and 1997, these 12 cities have successfully built up the cross-banking network within the same city.

In December, 1988, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) called together all the commercial banks to set up the Bankcard Information Switching Center, which was put into trial operation. At the same year, joining hands with VISA International, PBOC organised the local merchant banks to stipulate and issue the China IC Card Specifications for Financial IC Cards in view of the unique situation in China and following the principle of international standard compliance. Based on these specifications, some more technical standards and specifications were stipulated, such as the Unified Technical Specification of Bankcard Networking, the Unified Business Specification of Bankcard Networking.

The golden card Projects have played an important role of promoting the bankcard business, speeding up the flow of capital, preventing the economic crimes and assisting the macro-economic control as well as enhancing the national economic and social development.

The year 2006 witnessed a stable growth of IC card market in China. The major industrial sectors have gained tremendous records, such as banking, telecom, national ID, social welfare, public utilities, tourism, petrol, chemicals. And one impressive record is the RFID driven market. The following figures will help you understand more about China.

Banking Sector

In 2006, the bankcard applications gained an outstanding achievement. By September, 2006, there were 175 bankcard issuers in China, with a total issuance of 1.03 billion bankcards. Over 336 counties and cities have been connected via Internet and, there are 95,800 ATM installed and 450,000 merchants with 750,000 POS terminals installed.

Between January to September 2006, China Unionpay (CUP) issued 102.24 million CUP cards and had 87,000 new merchants. There were 1.36 billion cross-banking ATM transactions with a transaction value at 366 billion Yuan, and 760 million cross-banking POS transactions at a value of 855.9 billion Yuan. More transactions have been done outside the country at a value of 17.783 billion Yuan with 13,100 overseas merchants agreed to accept the bankcards issued from China. More than 255,000 cashiers are able to accept CUP bankcards. Five countries and regions start to handle the Renminbi (RMB) business. By this date, China Unionpay has its business operations in 23 countries and regions, which paves a good foundation for Chinese RMB towards the global market.

Records released by CUP

In 2006, China Unionpay increased the issuance of 144 million new standard bankcards, among which there were 3.13 million credit cards, a five-times increase against 2005, and 141 million debit cards. The new standard CUP bankcard has taken 68% of the total cards issued. Outside China, there are 403,200 CUP cards issued, increasing by 180% in comparison with the previous year. Up to this date, 25 international bankcards have started to issue the CUP standard cards, at a total of 624,7000 cards, among which there are 143,700 credit cards and 481,000 debit cards.

By the end of 2006, there are 570,000 merchants that are able to accept CUP cards in the world, with CUP Internet connected networks at 898,000 POS terminals and nearly 400,000 ATM machines to handle CUP cards. Within 2006, CUP networks had been set up connecting to six more countries in Holland, Switzerland, Australia, Hasakestan, Italy and Russia. There are over 24 regions that are connected with CUP network, covering the frequently traveled regions by the Chinese tourists. And CUP had 25,200 new merchants to add up to a total of 55,000. There are 300,000 ATM in total with newly installed 35,100 ATM and 80,000 POS terminals outside the Country.

Telecom Sector

The telecom is the largest market of IC card applications in China, taking the No. 1 position of all industrial sectors by issuing 2 billion telecom cards, among which 900 million issued by China Telecom, with a new roll-out at 25 million cards for 2006, 400 million by China Mobile and 200 million by China Unicom, a 60% increase comparing with the same period of the last year. The memory capacity of mobile SIM card has been extended from 3K to 128K, with big variety of services supporting mobile value-added services ranging from the single voice and identification to phone books, SMS and multi-contents.  
Public Security

In 2001, approved by the state council, China new generation of national ID card adopted the contactless IC technology to replace the old ID cards. By October, 2006, over 370 million new ID cards have been issued, and another 270 million cards are to be rolled out in 2007. It is expected that the total of 900 million new ID cards will be rolled out by 2008.

As approved, the whole technology for the ID card has been developed and supplied by the local vendors, ranging from chips, modules, IC card bodies, readers and the system. Between 2005 to 2006, 400 million modules were supplied so as to secure the smooth issuance of such huge project and application.

Public Utilities Sector

The IC card technology has been introduced to the public utilities, such as urban public transport, public utilities, residential household areas, the supply of gas, water and heating, the toll gates and parking slots and the tourist resorts etc. By the end of 2006, over 100 cities have built up the IC card systems for the urban public transport, with a total issuance of 100 million cards. And over 300 cities have implemented IC cards in the public utilities sectors, with 6 million IC cards issued and 4.5 million IC card meters installed.

Social Welfare and Labour Sectors

The social welfare cards are the e-ID proof for the social labours to handle their applications in the sector and check for the working information. The applications are in the employment services, labour contracts management, salary management, professional qualification, pensions and medical insurance etc. By September, 2006, 53 cities in China have completed the registration of social welfare IC card and application for private keys. There are 20 million card holders nationwide.

Tourist Sector

During the 10th Five-year plan, the State Tourist Administration started to introduce the IC cards for the tour guides with the objective of conducting dynamic supervision of the tour guides and of upgrading the informatization level of the tourist sector. By December 5, 2006, 330,000 tourist guides have got the tourist IC cards and there are 2300 supervisors who conducted the effective checks over 210,000 times for the tourists. There are new 30,000 tourist guides enrolled and 50,000 guides upgraded. The dynamic supervision has become the important measures for restructuring the tourist market and improving the service quality.

Petrol Chemicals sector

SinoPec has stipulated the Application Regulation for the SinoPec IC Card, and planned to implement IC card gas system to realise the e-Payment and transaction data collection in 19 provincial branches, 170 county level companies and 20,000 petrol gas stations. By June 2006, 15,000 gas stations have been built into the connection of IC card system with 3,400 card issuance locations. There are 13.35 million SinoPec IC cards issued.

Other emerging Market

The other emerging market is the RFID application in China, which has gained the remarkable achievements.

Market Size of RFID

The following charts show the present status and future forecast for RFID market by 2010. 




Market Trend of RFID


We shall say that China is one of the few nations in the world that has achieved the tremendous progress in the IC card implementations in the related sectors. And it illustrates the successful case of e-Government project under the governmental coordination efforts to gain such fruitful achievements.   

Belgium Personal Identity Card Scheme uses Infineon Technology

Infineon is claimed to be the sole chip supplier for the Belgium Personal Identity Card (BelPIC), Europes' largest nationwide electronic identity card scheme. Infineon Technologies AG, the world's leading supplier of integrated circuits (ICs) for chip cards. BelPIC is a multi-application smart card used for personal identification at home and abroad. The card is embedded with an electronic signature authentication which can be used for e-Government services like, address change, civil record, birth certificate, tax return, and private-use Internet services. The card body is manufactured by Gemalto, based on polycarbonate and using laser engraving technology. Gemalto also provided the Java-based operating system as well as the ID applications and the digital signatures.

The Belgium ID card incorporates the highly-secure contact-based smart card controller SLE 66CX322P of Infineon. Other countries that are issuing these cards include Italy, Finland, Estonia, and Sweden. Germany and the United Kingdom are expected to select suppliers in later 2007, and France and Poland in 2008.

Website: http://www.scfc.org.ca/world/gk_e.htm
Started: 1993
Current Status: 1.03 billion bank cards issed by September 2006


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