Credit card giant aims to double share of spending by foreign tourists by 2008 Visa is looking to double its market share of spending by foreign tourists in the mainland by the 2008 Olympic year, according to a senior member of the company's Greater China operation Jim Allhusen, Visa International's executive vice-president for Asia-Pacific and general manager of Greater China region and the Philippines, said yesterday the company would leverage on its sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics. Against competitors such as MasterCard and American Express as well as traveller's cheques and cash, Visa expects to double the 7.8 per cent market share it recorded in the world's seventh-largest tourist destination last year. 'We're a top sponsor of the Beijing Games and we will not just focus on it as a two-week event,' Mr Allhusen said. 'We want to use it as a promotional and marketing platform for the next four years in the mainland.' Electronic payment brands faced several challenges in the mainland, said Mr Allhusen, who yesterday presided over the announcement of an alliance between Visa and Hong Kong Disneyland, which is due to open in September. Heading Visa's priority list is the expansion of its merchant network around the country, which stands at about 100,000 businesses. Mr Allhusen said many mainland retail business owners had not yet realised the need to include Visa. 'Many are thinking they don't need to have [electronic payment terminals] because they don't see many tourists,' he said. The key was to educate merchants about the benefit of allowing consumers to use electronic payments, he said. China UnionPay (CUP) - the only payment brand that could handle yuan transactions - would play a crucial role in this. 'The day will come when Visa can play a role in the domestic market but we expect that, by then,CUP will already have blazed new ground as a pioneer with merchants,' he said. The other challenges include educating consumers to treat payment cards as an acceptable means for daily payments and helping mainland police tackle fraud cases involving credit cards and other electronic payment means.