SAR, mainland seen at fore of smart card boom
Increasing use of cellular telephones and mobile-banking services will spur the use of smart cards in Hong Kong and the mainland, according to an industry executive.
Jean-Claude Deturche, smart card marketing director for Schlumberger Test and Transactions Asia, said the mainland and the SAR would lead the region in the use of smart cards.
'China, because it's big, and Hong Kong, because it's so dynamic, will lead Asia in the use of smart cards in the short term,' he said.
Plans for multi-function smart cards in the SAR, such as the Octopus transport card which can be used for parking and small store purchases, would boost smart card use in Hong Kong, he said.
The Asia-Pacific accounts for 15 per cent of the US$1.5 billion worldwide revenue from smart cards, according to GartnerGroup/Dataquest market research.
Mr Deturche declined to disclose how much Schlumberger generated from Hong Kong or the Asia-Pacific, but the company expects the region to account for 24 per cent of worldwide smart card revenue by 2003.
Developing Asian countries such as Indonesia, which had shown potential before the economic crisis of 1997, were expected to see more smart card use in coming years, according to Mr Deturche.
Paris-based Schlumberger, the world's leading smart-card producer, makes parking meter smart cards for the Transport Department and pre-paid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards for the SAR's six mobile-phone operators.
Schlumberger manufactures smart cards for Asian mobile carriers in Aberdeen, and also creates new applications there.
Schlumberger yesterday announced it had developed the industry's first wireless identity module, which is a smart card that secures Internet transactions on mobile devices.
The module will be used in phones using the wireless application protocol (WAP) platform for sending and receiving data.
WAP phones are slated for commercial release by the end of next month.
'In the wireless future, more people will be going on-line via mobile devices,' Mr Deturche said.
'With this new card, mobile users can have 100 per cent confidence in the security of their Internet transactions.' TECHNOLOGY