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Press Releases

Caris Wan
ESD Services Limited
Tel: 2128 9880

Debbie Chu /Prudence Lai
Scotchbrook-BSMG Worldwide
Tel: +852 2877 3939
Email: /

Lulu Tsao
Visa International
Tel: +852 2842 2314

ESDlife and Visa announce a strategic alliance
to extend secure credit payment for e-government services

First partnership between government & commercial portal and Visa

HONG KONG, 16 October, 2001 - ESDlife, the operator of the bilingual portal, and Visa International today announced a strategic alliance to provide greater convenience, ease and security for the Hong Kong public to access government, commercial and personal services over the Internet. Promoting the usage of Visa card payment, this alliance signifies the extension of Visa payment to e-government services.

ESDlife and Visa will conduct a pilot program using 3-D Secure, a core component of Visa's Authenticated Payment program, to create a secure on-line environment for cardholders to make payments on the portal.

"Growing numbers of people are saving time by going on-line to complete government-related transactions, make payments or simply to shop," said Mark Burbidge, Senior Vice President and General Manager, e-Visa, Visa International Asia Pacific. "Market research indicated that credit cards remain the most widely used payment choice for these online users. AC Nielson reports that an average of 6.6 out of 10 online transactions made in Hong Kong are paid with a Visa card. Our partnership with ESDlife aims to extend convenience and secure payment forms to this growing section of the public that makes online transactions or uses e-government services."

"As on-line service become increasingly popular, security issues on the Internet are always a major concern for users when they conduct on-line transactions. ESDlife is dedicated to provide the best on-line services to users. The Alliance with Visa will further enhance our strength on personal data protection. This is another step forward to providing the Hong Kong public with a highly secure environment for on-line transactions," said Sammy Tse, Chief Executive Officer, Hutchison E-Commerce.

ESDlife, through its kiosk network and portal, offers the public a one-stop-shop, with over 110 applications from 38 government departments and agencies. 100,000 people visit the portal daily to obtain information about and process e-transaction services. Members of the public will be able to use Visa payment cards for a growing portfolio of services, including application for search and copy of birth certificate, marriage certificate, application for reservation of non-special registration mark for auction, renewal of driver license and vehicle license, road test appointment booking for repeaters, application for certificate of particulars of vehicle, vehicle annual examination appointment booking and re-scheduling, application for supply of information on the business register, ticketing, and online course enrollment. In the near future, the list of services will be expanded to include public sports facility booking services and purchase of publications from the government e-bookstore.

"As a leader of the payment industry, Visa continues to enhance payment convenience for customers. We are dedicated to expanding card usage in traditional merchant segments as well as establishing Visa card acceptance in non-traditional sectors such as government services, petrol stations and insurance," said Stephen Chang, General Manager of Visa International Hong Kong/Macau.

"Visa card sales penetration of all personal consumer expenditure (PCE) in Hong Kong has increased from 13% a year ago to 14.5%. More and more consumers are aware of the convenience of using payment cards for everyday use. The efforts we are putting in to expand card usage as well as Visa's strong brand are bringing us closer to replacing cash and checks," added Stephen Chang.

Authenticated Payment

Both companies are committed to work together to provide the same level of convenience, security and trust in the virtual world that consumers already enjoy in the physical world. ESDlife and Visa will conduct a pilot program in Hong Kong using 3-Domain (3-D) Secure for e-commerce, a new security protocol that aims to authenticate the user in on-line transactions. The 3-D Secure covers three domains of the payment settlement process: card issuer/cardholder authentication in the issuer's domain, acquirer/merchant authentication in the acquirer's domain, and a domain of seamless interoperability for data exchange.

Joint promotions with ESDlife

To encourage the public to use their Visa cards, ESDlife and Visa will launch year-round promotions. The Surprising Sweepstake promotion has been launched and will continue until March 2003. Winners will receive travel cash coupons and other exciting gifts by making e-commerce or public service transactions on ESDlife's portal using a Visa card.

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About ESDlife

ESDlife is the world's premier bilingual portal conceived and designed with the objective of delivering government and commercial services via a highly secured and convenient single on-line electronic platform. Operated and managed by ESD Services Limited, an e-commerce operation of Hutchison Whampoa Limted, is the host of the "Electronic Service Delivery" Scheme - a core component of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's "Digital 21" information technology strategy.

Visa International

Visa is the world's leading payments brand and the largest payments system worldwide. Visa-branded cards generate almost US$2 trillion in annual volume and are accepted at over 22 million locations around the world. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet-based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce - the ability to conduct commerce anytime, anywhere, over any type of device.

Visa in Asia Pacific

With a dominant market share of more than 56 percent in the Asia Pacific region -- more than all other payment brands combined, Visa reported card sales volume for the 12 months ending December 31, 2000 reached US$332 billion. This figure includes US$246 billion in card sales volume, plus a further US$86 billion of commercial activity using Visa cards in China, as reported by Chinese member banks. In the same period, the total number of Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS-branded cards on issue in the Asia Pacific region increased 25 percent to 260 million cards. Visa's Internet address is

Visa in Hong Kong

Visa card sales volume in Hong Kong recorded a strong growth of 18 percent to US$14.8 billion for the 12 months to 30 June 2001. In the same period, card transactions increased by 20 percent to 144 million. The number of Visa cards in circulation has now reached 6.5 million, showing a 13 percent year-on-year growth. Visa cardholders can enjoy the convenience of using his/her card at more than 76,000 merchant outlets in Hong Kong.