International News 03/06

June 03, 2024 No. 86

Visa and Mastercard have agreed to pay US$197 million in damages in a consumer lawsuit.

Visa and Mastercard have agreed to pay a total of $197 million, or Rp 3.1 trillion, to settle a lawsuit filed by consumers in the US. The lawsuit alleged that the payment system giants were charging excessive fees for ATM transactions. The settlement includes consumers who made cash withdrawals from various banks' ATMs between 2007 and the present. Visa will pay $104.6 million, while Mastercard will pay $92.8 million, according to the settlement document filed in the Washington federal court. Furthermore, a defendant bank has settled claims for $66 million. Two other class-action lawsuits related to this matter are still pending. One is from consumers who use non-bank ATMs, and the other is from business owners with independent ATMs. The plaintiffs allege that Visa and Mastercard's ATM network rules resulted in significantly higher access fees, and they are seeking damages in excess of $9 billion. The settlement follows the dismissal of a lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard by the US Supreme Court in April.


There has been a notable increase in the number of tourists from Southeast Asia visiting China.

China's efforts to revive its tourism industry are paying off, thanks to relaxed visa regulations and easy access to cashless payment systems. Southeast Asian tourists are being attracted to the country, and data from booking platform Klook Travel Technology shows that China has regained its status as a tourist destination for this region. Reservations made by Southeast Asians on the Klook platform for travel to mainland China in 2024 have already surpassed pre-pandemic numbers. CEO Ethan Lin estimates that inbound travel to China could fully recover to pre-Covid levels by 2025. In 2024, China recorded 82 million tourist arrivals, which is 56% of the 2019 figures. With visa-free access and limited options for travel, China is becoming a popular destination for tourists from certain regions. China's visa-free policy for citizens from 157 countries has contributed to this trend.


China is a significant investor in solid-state battery research and development.

China is planning to invest over 6 billion yuan in a government project to develop solid-state batteries. These batteries offer enhanced safety, extended lifespans, and accelerated charging compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries. However, the mass deployment of these batteries has been hindered by a lack of available raw materials, complex production processes, and high costs. China is seeking to reinforce its position in the global electric vehicle market by investing in solid-state battery research. Six companies, including battery maker CATL and WeLion New Energy Technology, have been selected to receive state funding to work on this next-generation technology. BYD, FAW, SAIC, and Geely have also been selected for the project. Geely did not provide a comment on its involvement. China's previous investments in the domestic supply chain have enabled it to become the world's most cost-effective battery and electric vehicle manufacturer.