Technology Featured East Asia

Choco Up partners with Airwallex to leverage cross-border e-commerce in Asia

Hong Kong — Choco Up, the Hong Kong-based financing and growth platform, has announced its partnership with fintech company Airwallex to support the future growth of cross-border e-commerce. By combining Airwallex’s proprietary global payments infrastructure with Choco Up’s flexible recurring funding solutions, the collaboration enables a comprehensive and integrated finance solution for e-commerce companies across Asia.

Leveraged by Airwallex, Choco Up is able to offer a one of its kind, turnkey solution covering cross-border payments, collections, and growth funding, and addresses the needs that will enable e-commerce firms of all sizes to grow beyond geographical boundaries without financial constraints.

Kai Wu, CEO of Airwallex Greater China, commented that they are pleased to have been chosen as Choco Up’s partner as they continue to support the growth of e-commerce companies across the region.

“Businesses today require easy-to-use, accessible, safe and cost-efficient payment options and our global financial infrastructure can enable that for businesses like Choco Up. Our scale API solution offers a centralized way to manage cross-border payment complexities, so businesses can easily transact internationally. We look forward to continuing our partnership in APAC and beyond, empowering businesses of all sizes to operate anywhere, anytime,” Wu said. 

Choco Up provides e-commerce companies with flexible funding ranging from US$10,000 to US$10m to accelerate their growth. Choco Up’s proprietary fintech platform allows for a seamless, automated funding process. By connecting the companies’ sales and marketing accounts to their data integration platform, Choco Up can efficiently conduct artificial intelligence-driven risk assessments on applicant companies within hours. The information gathered enables e-commerce companies to see all their business performance data in one place, helping them identify pain points, optimize their businesses, and stay on top of the competition.

Brian Tsang, co-founder and COO of Choco Up, said that the pandemic has propelled even faster growth of e-commerce companies over the past couple of years, many of whom are in search of new funding and payments options to enable more sustained long-term growth regionally/internationally.

“Partnering with Airwallex allows us to build a comprehensive hassle-free payment and funding infrastructure in Asia to empower these businesses to scale across borders without complications and co-create a better future for cross-border e-commerce in Asia,” Tsang said.

Bringing together Airwallex’s global payment technology with Choco Up’s funding platform and analytics tools, this solution will serve as a one-stop-shop for e-commerce companies looking to expand internationally. Airwallex’s global payment software lets e-commerce businesses make cross-border payments in more than 130 currencies at significantly lower costs because of their market-leading foreign exchange rates. In addition, Airwallex Borderless Cards will enable e-commerce merchants to make digital payments across borders that are more secure, transparent, and efficient.

Last January, Airwallex launched its fintech platform in Singapore.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Latest report shows SEA marketers spending US$244m to gain new fintech users

Singapore – With more people relying on digital payments during the pandemic, marketers in SEA spent over US$244m on fintech user acquisition and remarketing efforts in 2020, making up about 8% of global marketing spend with US$3b that same year, according to a report by SaaS mobile marketing analytics and attribution platform AppsFlyer.

In the latest report, AppsFlyer noted that there are 2.7 billion app installs in APAC between Q1 2019 and Q1 2021, of 4.7 billion app installs globally. The report also examined 600 million non-organic installs and 1,230 apps across SEA markets including Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The most common app used in SEA is fintech, with about 65% of marketing budgets dedicated to gaining users through non-organic installs (NOI), while out of the US$244 million marketers spent in user acquisition, investment apps were pushed the most aggressively, making up more than 65.5% of NOI in SEA. 

Furthermore, the report found that the pandemic led to more users in SEA utilizing loan apps, making up a 58.3% share of NOI in the region. Financial services, meanwhile, ranked last out of all categories with an NOI of 37.3%, owing to the fact that many in SEA switched to using contactless payments due to social distancing measures.

AppsFlyer’s Managing Director and President Ronen Mense said that 2020 was a game-changer, impacting how businesses and consumers interact and operate. 

He further shared that the fintech sector has radically adapted to the changing environment and accelerated digital transformation, especially in developing markets where many are unbanked or underbanked. 

“As more users shifted to their mobile devices, Financial Institutions followed suit, enabling consumers to function through their devices. Marketers should focus on meeting this increase in demand through remarketing and user acquisition campaigns to be successful among competitors,” said Mense.

AppsFlyer’s report also found that developing markets make up 70% more finance app installs compared to developed markets, which can be attributed to the majority of the population in SEA being either unbanked or underbanked. 

According to the 2020 e-Conomy SEA report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, the pandemic forced SEA to rapidly digitize, with over 40 million new users coming online for the first time. This is also why the report found that countries in SEA rank among the top 15 globally by Finance app installs – Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam, which ranked 3, 6, 9, and 13 respectively.

Additionally, the report shows that mobile fraud declined in SEA by 20%. However, fraud is still prevalent in SEA.

Platforms SME Featured ANZ

Aussie-based fintech Thrive aims to raise A$3M for SME waitlist

Melbourne, Australia – Thrive, an AI-powered fintech aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs), has announced the initial stages of its crowdfunding, targeting A$3M, on the equity crowdfunding platform Birchal.

The crowdfunding comes after the platform’s interest in launching the Thrive app for its SME waitlist, which has numbered over 7,500 businesses.

According to Thrive’s data, financial admin has been the most disliked activity in running a business and that business owners waste over 42 days a year in managing their financial affairs. This is something that the platform aims to solve by automating banking, accounting tasks, and lending for SMEs. 

Furthermore, Thrive combines a smart business account with value-added services like receipt scanning, invoicing, tax forecasting, payroll, and more. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), these tools are designed to run on autopilot, winning back time for busy business owners and making it easy for them to stay in control of their financial destiny.

“We have been running a number of focus groups with small business owners as we put the finishing touches on our product. After we kept getting asked about investment, we decided that we couldn’t think of anything better than to allow our potential customers to become investors in the business as well,” said Michael Nuciforo, co-founder & CEO of Thrive.

Meanwhile, Thrive Co-founder and COO Ben Winford added, “We were really impressed with the Birchal team and platform. We can’t wait to launch our campaign and to get our members behind us. Crowdfunding presents an exciting opportunity to build our brand, grow our member base and build further advocacy for our business.” 

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Revolut’s new feature lets users donate spare change to charities

Singapore – The Singaporean arm of fintech platform Revolut now has a ‘donation’ feature which enables them to instantly round up their card payments and donate their spare change to charity. 

Through the new service, customers have the option to make a one-off donation or set up recurring contributions, which can be terminated at any time. Donations have no minimum amount. 

The new ‘donation’ feature will initially start off with three local-based charity groups: The Singapore Red Cross, The Singapore Cancer Society, and Club Rainbow (Singapore). Revolut said it will be adding more charities in the platform over the course of this year.

“Supporting social causes is both important to us as a business, and to many of our customers. Complicated sign up processes and scary commitments can put a lot of people off, so we wanted to build a feature that would enable our customers to support good causes in a seamless and secure way,” said James Shanahan, CEO of Revolut Singapore

Revolut has been recently ramping up its new features for the platform, including sending e-hongbaos for the upcoming Chinese New Year, the enabling of bank top-ups and the launch of its web app.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Revolut launches web app, new top-up feature

Singapore – UK-based fintech company Revolut in Singapore has recently announced the launch of two features in their platform: the Revolut Web App and Revolut account top-up via bank transfer.

Revolut’s latest web app, accessible in laptop and desktop computers.

The first one, Revolut Web App, now allows users to log in to their Revolut account via their desktops or laptops. Users signing in through the web app are protected by Two-Factor authentication (2FA), and can also overview transactions, freeze or unfreeze cards, block their PIN, and top up their account via bank transfer, debit or credit card, or via Apple Pay.

Commenting on the new launch, Revolut CEO and founder Nik Storonsky said, ““Account access through a browser is highly requested by our customers, so we’re delighted to have built a safe and convenient web app that everyone can use when they need it. Our customers can now access their money anywhere and at any time, even if they don’t have their phone or card, or if they simply prefer checking their account from a computer. It’s great to have the extra convenience and flexibility of an online option.”

A user interface depiction of Revolut’s mobile app dashboard, featuring topping up the account via bank transfers, such as DBS Bank in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Revolut has also partnered with DBS Bank in Singapore in enabling its customers to top up their wallets via bank transfers. With the new partnership, Revolut is able to assign a unique 15-digit virtual account number to each customer in Singapore, in which the customer transfers money to their virtual account from their bank, and the amount is reflected in their Revolut app.

James Shanahan, CEO of Revolut Singapore, said, “The goal here is to enable customers to manage their money in a way they find most convenient for their lifestyles. With virtual accounts, Revolut Singapore is able to collect payments from a large number of customers and still easily keep track of their transfers. This process will give our customers peace of mind, thereby improving overall user experience.”

Head of Growth at Revolut Singapore Pam Chuang also commented, “Topping up via your local bank account is fast and convenient. With the virtual account feature, Revolut is, once more, able to help our customers better manage their money. When we introduce new wealth and money-management products, this will give our customers visibility of how they are using their money.”