Thursday, January 19, 2012

China Prepaid In Brief: What You Need to Know

Prepaid TV™ unpeels an appealing, but complex market

By Marc Dresner, IIR

At an estimated 13-17% CAGR, China’s prepaid market (approx. US$230 billion in 2010) is poised to overtake the US as the world’s largest before the decade ends.

It’s a not the model we’re accustomed to in the West—and not without its quirks—but with such a rapid adoption rate, China’s prepaid market has legs and is running fast!

Take gas cards, for example. The two major State-owned gas station operators don’t take credit cards, and dealing in cash is becoming increasingly cumbersome as more and more members of China’s expanding middle class take to the roads in cars. Solution: prepaid petrol cards! And they’re being aggressively pushed.

According to Terry Xie, Director of the International Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group, while barriers to entry can prove daunting, China offers significant opportunities for foreign players with the right amount of capital who understand the market.

And Xie says don’t be intimidated by China's increasingly tight regulatory environment; it may actually catalyze growth!

In a three-part interview with Prepaid TV™ – the official streamcast network of Prepaid Expo — Xie provides a blueprint for navigating the world’s second largest prepaid market and some considerations for foreign interests who would like to do business in the People’s Republic.

Click on the links below to tune in!

Part I: China’s Massive Prepaid Market

Part II: Understanding Open Loop

Part III: The Regulatory Environment for Prepaid

Prepaid TV™ is an executive interview series featuring the leading voices in prepaid today, along with a few rising stars that you should know about.

Each month, we’ll deliver fresh insights and answers from a variety of perspectives – networks, banks, retailers, programs and providers – on the forward-facing issues that matter most to the prepaid industry.

Prepaid TV™ is produced by Prepaid Expo, the world’s largest, most comprehensive and independent forum dedicated to meeting the information and business needs of the entire stored value community.

For more information or to register for Prepaid Expo taking place March 12-14 in Las Vegas, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's communication lead. His background is in trade journalism and marketing research. Prior to joining IIR, Dresner was the executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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