More than 20 million contactless smart cards have been issued for transit ticketing in more than 80 cities in China since 1996, according to data obtained by Card Technology.
That number is expected to grow 50%, to 30 million, within the next three years. Shanghai has issued the most cards, about 7 million. Other major projects include Guangzhou with 2.95 million cards; Nanjing 2 million; and Qingdao more than 1 million. Mifare chips, based on security technology from Netherlands-based Philips Semiconductors, are used in 90% of the contactless transit cards issued in China to date, Card Technology finds. Eurosmart, a smart card industry trade group, projects global shipments of smart cards to the transit industry will grow 20% in 2004 to 75 million, up from 62 million in 2003. Shipments of memory cards to transit operators will grow from 50 million in 2003 to 55 million this year, Eurosmart predicts, while microprocessor card shipments will grow 65%, from 12 million to 20 million. The more expensive microprocessor cards offer stronger security and are better suited to using the card for more than one purpose.