Fri, Jul 16, 2010 - Page 12 News List

World Cup Visa spending up 70%

By Ted Yang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Foreign Visa card spending exceeded US$300 million from the lead-up to and during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, up US$128 billion, or 70 percent compared with the same period last year, the credit card company said yesterday.

During the period leading up to the start of the soccer tournament on June 1 and the end of the tournament on Sunday, spending by international visitors in South Africa on Visa cards reached US$312 million.

The number of transactions from June 1 through Sunday was 2.2 million, or 55,000 per day on average, posting a 79 percent gain from approximately 1.2 million, 30,000 a day on average, during the same period last year, the company said.

“The World Cup has been an outstanding success for football and for South Africa,” Visa’s chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio said. “It has definitely been a spectacular success for the local economy and businesses. The foreign visitors came in force and spent in force with their Visa cards.”

More than 90 percent of spending was in typical leisure and business travel categories, such as accommodation, restaurants, retail, auto rentals and air travel, the company said.

The US, the UK, Australia, Brazil and France were the top five spending contributors and together accounted for 51 percent of the total amount. Among the top 25 countries by spending, the largest increase was from Mexico, where cardholders spent US$7.5 million, compared with US$131,000 in the same period of the previous year.

The biggest spenders from the African continent were Mozambique (US$8.1 million), Botswana (US$7.47 million) and Angola (US$6.5 million), the company’s data showed. In related news, MasterCard Inc and Alibaba.com (阿里巴巴), the world’s leading small business e-commerce company, yesterday announced an exclusive buyers reward program to be offered on the AliExpress platform, a wholesale marketplace for small business customers under Alibaba.

Available immediately, the ­reward program, running until Sept. 30, allows AliExpress buyers using their MasterCard cards to earn a discount of up to 10 percent off purchases with an accumulated value of US $1,000.

AliExpress was officially launched on April 26.

MasterCard also in April teamed up with another Alibaba Group (阿里巴巴集團) entity, Alipay, to launch online payment services in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

“With this new collaboration with AliExpress, as well as our recent cooperation with Alipay, MasterCard can now handle all payments for not only retail consumers but also for business owners,” said Ling Hai (凌海), MasterCard Worldwide’s general manager for Greater China.

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