Credit card security is driver of Asian online travel
01/24/2008|10:28:00 AM|Eyefortravel
Economic forecasts for online retail sales across Asia Pacific are expected to continue their strong growth (with a few exceptions) throughout 2008. (1/22/2008)

Where once the Japanese were the dominant online spenders in Asia, the Chinese have now taken over and are experiencing 20% growth year upon year. China sits second only to the US in total online expenditure worldwide.

Other big movers in online expenditure include Indonesia which has grown by 12.6%, Hong Kong by 10.5% and India by an impressive 33% (, 18.1.08). In addition to this, there are a number of less developed countries in the region who look to soon become viable – and therefore targeted - online economies such as Thailand and the Philippines.

To take full advantage of the massive growth in online spending, the travel industry must continue to build up consumer confidence in online payment portals. The necessary infrastructures to provide security during online purchases, is not as widely adopted in Eastern cultures as it is in the West. Identified by 61.5% of Chinese consumers as the number one reason not to buy online is ‘uncertainty about security of the online shopping process’ (China Internet Network Center Information survey).

Alternative payment solutions, like Nokair enabling local 7 Elevens to collect flight payments on their behalf, are innovative ways in which the problem is being tackled in the short term. However long term strategies that appeal to a broader range of consumer relies on the acceptance, penetration and trust in global credit card companies.

If regional ecommerce is to grow at the forecasted annual rate of 23.3% and reach $168.7 billion by 2011 (eMarketer, 16.1.08), then global credit card companies will be an important driving force behind this revolution.

Mastercard Worldwide and Softbank China & India will discuss Secure Online Payments at the Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2008 in Singapor.