Japanese retailer AEON withdraws from Taiwan credit card business

03, Apr. 2019

TAIPEI, NNA - AEON Credit Card (Taiwan) Co., a unit of Japanese retailer AEON Co., is pulling out of the credit card market in Taiwan, which is dominated by local banks.

President of the local unit of Tokyo-based AEON Financial Service Co., Akira Takahashi, said it is difficult to boost cardholder numbers while Taiwan prohibits public soliciting.

AEON entered the Taiwan credit card market in 2002, the first non-bank Japanese firm to do so. A year later the retail group opened its first shopping mall there, expecting the combined offering to consumers of financial and retail services would support growth.

However, by January this year its monthly credit card transactions had dropped two-thirds to less than 120 million New Taiwan dollars ($3.9 million), due largely to tough competition from local bank-owned rivals.

Taiwanese banks have their own credit cards linking cardholders to their bank accounts.

AEON told its cardholders at the end of March that it would discontinue all card transactions in Taiwan from May 31.

The only non-bank credit card issuers remaining in Taiwan are Rakuten Card Co., a unit of the Japanese electronic commerce giant Rakuten Inc., and American Express Co.

“Business expansion in Asia has been a strategic emphasis since we launched our first overseas branch in Hong Kong in 1987,” AEON Financial Service states on its website.

It currently operates in 11 Asian countries and has listed subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia.