Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management recentWorld Wealth Report revealed the Asian-Pacific region became hometo the most high-net wealth individuals, or HWNI, in the world. Thefindind marks an emerging shift in wealth for the first time ever.North America is now second to Asia, and with current and futuredemographic factors including population size and economic growth,it appears that Asia-Pacific will continue to expand its HNWIbase.
So what are the impacts for the payments industry? Well, asnon-cash based transactions continue to grow, particularly indeveloping countries, one should expect both debit and credit cardswitness robust growth, especially as it appears as the biggestmarket in the region. China is relaxing some of its strictregulatory positions. The Chinese government recently gave Citibankapproval to issue Citi-branded credit cards in the country, a firstfor foreign banks. Furthermore, with the growing HNWI class acrossthe Asian-Pacific region, one should expect that premium orplatinum credit cards will improve market share, particularlyaround the major cities of the region and areas like Hong Kong andSingapore.
Credit and debit cards still are relatively in their infancy in theregion. Trends have emerged, however, showing consumer spending isslowly increasing on plastic and as the economies mature,traditional payment methods such as cash will likely cede marketshare to credit and debit cards. Although developing countries areoften overlooked by the high-end market of many sectors, thepremium credit card industry has a small, but growing foothold inthe region, which is only expected to grow as the number of HNWIalso grows in parallel.
The easing of some regulatory practices, strong and consistenteconomic growth as well as current and future population forecastsmake the Asia-Pacific region arguably the most intriguing ofpayment landscapes among emerging-country regions. From basicbanking services to premium credit cards, the future of payments inthe region is undoubtedly bright. The Asia-Pacific premium creditcard market will be more closely examined in an upcoming Mercatorreport, scheduled for later this year.