India and China are both huge markets for cards that are also fraught with regulatory and political hurdles. To better address these markets, MasterCard has created two regional divisions and promoted executives with expertise in both countries.
The two divisions will be North East Asia and Australasia (NEAA) and South East Asia and South Asia (SEASA).
Ling Hai will be president of NEAA. Ling was most recently group executive of enterprise development for international markets for MasterCard. He joined the card network in 2010 as division president of Greater China.
China's government is loosening restrictions on outside payment companies, but foreign payment companies still face major regulatory and market hurdles. MasterCard plans to build a presence in China, but has acknowledged it may take time.
Ari Sarker will be president of SEASA. Sarker has been with MasterCard for more than four years and was most recently division president for South Asia and country corporate officer in India, where he helped forge partnerships with local authorities to advance digital payments.
MasterCard has also opened technology hubs in India, where it is attempting to build a market for its MasterPass digital wallet, initially for in-app purchases, with Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless payments to come later.
But the network faces political challenges. The Indian government does not ban foreign card companies, but strongly encourages the use of its national system.
"We see enormous potential for the Asia/Pacific Region and with this new regional reorganization we intend to further build on our already strong business momentum across the overall geography," said Ann Cairns, president of international markets for MasterCard, in a June 18 press release.
Both executives will work out of Singapore and will take over for Vicky Bindra, the president of Asia/Pacific, who will be leaving MasterCard.