Two issues must be resolved before China can experience explosive growth in online travel, and neither is insurmountable, according to participants at the China Travel Distribution Future Forum 2005 in Beijing.

The first is widespread implementation of electronic ticketing in what is expected to become the world's largest travel market. The second issue may prove more challenging: facilitating online payment for online purchases in a country in which credit cards are relatively scarce.

Justin Xiong, founder and general manager of Yoee.com, noted that China has "a highly developed debit card system." But there are no wide network systems of debit cards, such as Visa or Mastercard; each bank issues its own, and connecting with all them is daunting for online sellers of travel.

In addition, many banks place spending limits on single purchases and/or daily spending via debit card in order to combat fraud, and often those ceilings are too low, in some cases about $125 for the purchase of an international airline ticket.

As a result, many online transactions are completed in convenience stores.

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