There are plenty of ways to succeed in business. You can go the way of Boeing and have a relatively small number of very high-value transactions. You can go the way of a retailer and make a lot less per transaction, but sell a lot more. Or you can go the way of Global Payments (NYSE:GPN) and make a lot of money by taking a very small piece of a huge number of transactions.

Sales for the first quarter climbed 17% as reported, and "organic" growth (that is, net of foreign exchange and acquisitions) was more along the lines of 13%. The company also improved its profitability, with the operating margin expanding by about 90 basis points and operating income growing 21%. It should also be noted that this quarter's results included a restructuring charge; excluding that charge drives up growth to more than 23% and the margin expansion to nearly 130 basis points.

I won't be spending too much additional time on this quarter's results though, of course, I'd encourage interested readers to peruse Global Payments' press release. Growth was strongest in Europe, but positive across the board, and the company is looking for low double-digit revenue growth for the year.

Global Payments recently made an announcement that I think could have a considerable impact on future results. Hooking up with HSBC (NYSE:HBC) in a joint venture, the company will gain access to the Asian market. Global Payments will pay about $67 million for a 56% interest in the venture, while HSBC will contribute access to a pre-existing merchant channel in 10 places -- including Hong Kong, India, China, Singapore, and Taiwan.

As you may have noticed, more than a few people live in Asia, and many economies in that region are seeing solid economic growth, as well as growth in consumer spending. Although I wouldn't say that credit card use is necessarily widespread across the whole region, it is growing rapidly, and penetrating just the large cities represents a tremendous opportunity for revenue and earnings growth.

There are a lot of ways to play this profitable and promising sector. First Data (NYSE:FDC) is more of a value angle, hence the Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation, while Global Payments and EuronetWorldwide (NASDAQ:EEFT) are more growth-oriented. While shares of Global Payments aren't cheap today by conventional standards, the opportunities for future growth may also well exceed normal standards.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).