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Tuesday, 17 August 2010, 12:37 HKT/SGT

Source: JCB
Agribank Starts Merchant Acquiring for JCB Card in Vietnam

Hanoi & Tokyo, Aug 17, 2010 - (ACN Newswire) - Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), and JCB International (JCBI), the international operations subsidiary of JCB, Japan's major credit card brand and also an issuer, announced that Agribank today started to recruit JCB credit card merchants in Vietnam based on the agreement signed by both parties in July 2009. Agribank is the largest commercial bank and one of the major credit card acquiring banks in Vietnam. Agribank will phase in JCB card acceptance for purchases at Agribank merchants and cash withdrawals through the Agribank ATM network. The bank targets to complete acquiring operation of JCB card acceptance at all of its existing 4,000 merchants and 2,100 ATMs by the end of 2010.

JCB and JCBI entered into the Vietnam market to expand JCB card acceptance since 1991. Credit card market has turned into a side of a progress due to Vietnam's strong economic growth after the country joined the WTO in 2007. Since then JCB and JCBI have been accelerating their effort with the aim of further enhancing convenience for over 64 million JCB cardmembers largely based in Asia, including Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan who travel to Vietnam. For Agribank, the alliance with JCBI will bring the bank's merchants more payment options and sales opportunities generated by the growing JCB cardmember base in Asia.

"Agribank is pleased to have this opportunity to provide a merchant service channel to JCB which will lead to further expansion of the card and payment market in Vietnam", said Mr. Pham Thanh Tan, Agribank's CEO. "We believe that the arrangement with the JCB international payment brand will contribute to the sales volumes of our merchants in Vietnam by offering greater convenience to cardmembers. Agribank is aiming to be the largest merchant acquirer in Vietnam in the near future."

Mr. Tamio Takakura, Chairman and CEO of JCBI said, "Vietnam is one of the key target markets for JCB because of its strong growth and potential scale, and we have had our presence here since 1991. This country has a multiple of beautiful and valuable world heritages, and we recognize that Vietnam is becoming a favorite destination among many Asian tourists as well as business travelers. While over 64 million JCB cardholders in Asia, spread among those countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, will visit here more often, and they are expected to contribute to the growth of credit card business in your country, it has been our recognition that JCB must strengthen its acceptance network further in this attractive market. In this regard, we, at JCB, feel very fortunate to commence a business tie with such an influential institution as Agribank, who has a solid country-wide merchant network and is increasing its presence at a extremely fast pace in the card industry here."

According to the Vietnam tourist bureau, the total number of travelers from Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan visiting Vietnam grew 7% from 1.6 million in 2005 to 1.8 million in 2008. After the global economic crisis in 2008, it decreased to 1.5 million in 2009, but in the first quarter in 2010, it recovered by 47% from the same period in 2009. Vietnam acts as a gateway to numerous world heritage sites in neighboring countries such as China to the north and Laos and Cambodia to the west, as well as having multiple world heritage sites of its own.

About Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development

Established on 26 March 1988, Agribank is now regarded as the leading commercial bank in Vietnam, playing dominant role in developing Vietnam economy, especially in the agricultural and rural sector. Agribank is the largest commercial bank in Vietnam in term of capital, total assets, number of employees, operation network, customer base etc. Up to now, the bank's total capital, equity capital and loan outstanding has reached VND 445,388 billion, VND 34,960 billion and VND 380,063 billion respectively, with an operation network of over 2,300 branches and transaction offices nationwide and a staffing base of more than 40,000 employees. Over the time of establishment and development, Agribank is honored to achieve a range of reputable and prestigious rewards such as "Labor Hero in innovation period", No. 1 Enterprise in Vietnam (ranked by UNDP in 2007), TOP 10 "Vietnam Golden Star", Top 10 Vietnam's most prestigious Brand, "Enterprise for Sustainable Development" recognized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Top 10 Enterprise in Vietnam ranked by VNR500 (2009). In term of card business, although joining the market later than other commercial banks, Agribank has experienced so high growth rate, quickly become the leading player in Vietnam in the area of cards issuing, with more than five million cards issued and an acquiring network of more than 1,700 ATMs and 3,000 POS by end of 31 July 2010.

Van Dung Tran

Topic: New market for product
Source: JCB

From the Asia Corporate News Network

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