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Building business quickly, but thoughtfully

By Jiang Xueqing | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-04 10:12
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Alipay and Tencent account for more than 90 percent of the mobile payment market in China. With the entry of Visa and Mastercard, will the market landscape be reshaped?

I believe that the Chinese government is embracing the idea of opening their markets because they want to see more participation. More participation leads to more innovation. More innovation leads to more choices for consumers and small business owners.

At Visa, we look forward to competing with whoever is in the marketplace, and I believe that new players make everybody raise their game in terms of what they are offering to consumers and small business owners.

We are excited about the prospect of participating in this market. We don't have any illusions that on day one we will be a big player. We are in this for the long term.

I look at China as an opportunity for the next two or three decades at least. We are going to be patient and to build the business quickly, but thoughtfully.

In order for all boats to rise in terms of payments in China, there are two things that are going to be important.

One is that the playing field is even so that the rules and regulations for everybody are the same; the second is that there is an embracing of industry standards so that solutions are interoperable, and merchants and banks don't have to build different technology bases for all the different payment players. That would be great if it is all kind of plug-compatible because we are following industry standards and we are focused on interoperability.

What trends have you seen in the Chinese payment market during your visit to Beijing? How will Visa make the best of these opportunities once it obtains a license?

Every time I come to China, I try to spend a little bit of time walking around, visiting restaurants, small shops and kiosks to get a sense of how people are buying and what they are buying.

This is a truly unique market. There is no market in the world that has embraced mobile payments to the degree that China has.

I've been in the payments business for 30-odd years. One of the things I have learned that gets reinforced every day is that payment is very much a local business.

For us to be successful, we must be relevant locally. When we think about solutions in China, we've got to be conscious of the regulations, the history, the traditions and the realities of the Chinese market.

If we are fortunate enough to begin operating here in China, clearly we will have to bring mobile-based payment solutions into the market and ideally, to have new and different types of innovative ideas and capabilities that would give us and our bank partners the opportunity to bring new products to Chinese citizens.

How does Visa plan to push ahead with its business in China? Do you want to use a QR-based model or the traditional model?

We are completely realistic about the fact that while we are a big global company, we must act locally when we come into a particular market. Whatever is the right way to deliver solutions to the marketplace - mobile, QR, tap and pay - whatever we need to do in terms of capabilities to be relevant to build our business and brand in China, we will do.

So we close no doors. We listen and look hard at the marketplace.

We don't make decisions at the corporate level about what we do at the local level. The local level is the best judge of what we need to do to be successful in a market. What we try to do at the corporate level is to provide investment dollars and a set of tools that can be as customized as necessary for a local market anywhere in the world.

How would the further opening-up of China's financial sector affect your business?

This is an exciting, large and vibrant country. Businesses from around the world are anxious to be part of this society. They will come here with their best ideas and their brightest people to bring all kinds of new innovations, products and solutions to Chinese consumers and small business owners. That is a positive thing for the people in China.

Outside China, it sends a terrific message to the world that China is welcoming and open for business and wants to have many companies bring their products, services and value to the Chinese people.

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